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By Jhumpa Lahiri

Book review, full book summary and synopsis for Whereabouts by Jhumpa Lahiri, a new novel from the Pulitzer Prize winning author after nearly a decade.


In Whereabouts, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit: Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement. The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties.

The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars. We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father's untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and "him," a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her.

But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun's vital heat, her perspective will change.

This is the first novel she has written in Italian (entitled "Dove mi trovo") and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.

Book Review

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What to know about Whereabouts

Whereabouts is set to be released on May 4th, 2021 by Knopf.

It seems like a bit of an experimental project for Lahiri. She originally wrote this book in Italian, and then translated it herself into English.

From an article about the book:

“Feeling foreign in both languages, Lahiri fell in love with Italian during a trip to Florence after college and immersed herself in a third tongue in spite of the struggles of acquiring a new language as an adult.

Translation — that movement between languages, cultures, and ultimately, meaning — has been a fact of Lahiri’s entire life. As a writer, Lahiri said she finds the act of translating to be ‘extraordinarily powerful and regenerative.'”

Her last book was published nearly a decade ago, in 2013, so I’m curious to see what this one holds.

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