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Developing individuality is especially challenging for second-generation immigrants. Nikhil “Gogol” Gaguli, the son of Bengali immigrants, is raised in a Massachusetts suburb. The Gangulis attend Indian pujos as well as celebrate Christmas. Added to this multiculturalism is the oddity of his childhood name, Gogol. It is neither a Bengali name nor, an American one, but rather the surname of a 19th century Russian author. Storyteller Jhumpa Lahiri, navigates the reader through the landscapes of Nikhil and his family’s experiences. Beginning in grade school and extending into his life as a New York City architect, Nikhil rejects his parents’ ways, tries to find peace by appeasing their expectations, but eventually learns that he exists at a fulcrum between cultures, at a point where he appreciates “Gogol”.
Reviewed by Lydia L., Main Library
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