BOOK WISE SPRING PICK: In Other Words
GENRE: Non-Fiction/Autobiography/Dual Language(English-Italian) Format
CULTURE SPOTLIGHT: Italy
AUTHOR: Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of four works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland.She has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Premio Gregor von Rezzori, the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature, a 2014 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama, and the Premio Internazionale Viareggio-Versilia, for In altre parole.
OF NOTE: One of her books ‘Namesake’ was adapted into a movie. Learn more here…
Book Wise Pow-Wow: What would you express in another language? What language would that be? Whether you are an immigrant or not, at the center of this beautiful memoir is perhaps a universal experience that many of us can relate to. Our self-hood and search for identity is a life-long process of becoming comfortable in our own skin, and we all can feel at one time or another like we don’t quite fit in. ‘In Other Words’ is a story about a love and a pure passion for another language and culture. Where do you feel most comfortable to be yourself? Would you find your true self in another country? Or would you be running from yourself? This deeply introspective writer invites us to reflect and explore identity through her personal journey…
PUBLISHER BOOK OVERVIEW:
In Other Words is a revelation. It is at heart a love story—of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery always eluded her.
Seeking full immersion, she decides to move to Rome with her family, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world. There, she begins to read, and to write—initially in her journal—solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice.
Presented in a dual-language format, this is a wholly original book about exile, linguistic and otherwise, written with an intensity and clarity not seen since Vladimir Nabokov: a startling act of self-reflection and a provocative exploration of belonging and reinvention.