Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Unaccustomed pleasure

Last week I read a book. For pleasure. That may not sound like a big whoop, but, actually, it's been several MONTHS since I've allowed myself to sink into a book without a pen in my hand. I'd forgotten how deliriously indulgent that is.

The book I read wasn't even one I'd picked out--it was pilfered from my husband's sleeping body: Jhumpa Lahiri's UNACCUSTOMED EARTH. He'd read two or three of the stories (not in order, even, sacrelige!) and when he had fallen asleep in the sun, the book on his chest, I snatched it, and wouldn't give it back. (Don't you HATE when people do that?)

I'd read THE NAMESAKE years ago, and loved it, and anytime she has a piece in the New Yorker, I devour it, but the bliss of following her heart through the trials of the various Bengali families in her pages was nearly as satisfying as swimming with dolphins.

The partial pastiche she created, the negative space, the deft shifts in POV, offered a larger story than NAMESAKE--a mural as opposed to a single painting. In the end, Lahiri's book left me feeling fuller, richer, sadder and wiser. I love when that happens.

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