Saturday, May 20, 2006

I really like Gayle's idea that intimacy is life - and I totally agree. It truly is how we relate, and how deeply we relate to those in our life that define us. I was a little baffled about how the narrator could live so many years and have sex with so many women and not be touched by any of them. It sits in striking contrast to Ashima in "The Namesake" - Ashima has spent her whole life in such close proximity to her family - nuclear and extended, that when she moves to Boston with her husband you can see the culture and family that she is missing like an open wound. Especially when she comes home from the hospital and is faced with the mountain of work in her home, and has no clue how to go about navigating in this new role without the culture of family that she has always known.

I think this resonated with me personally for a couple of reasons. With my fist child, I had moved to Japan with my husband 6 weeks prior to her birth. I was new to the Japanese culture and also new to the military culture. Like Ashima, I had no clue how to go about accessing help in a foreign country and foreign culture. Trying to care for a newborn is trying enough, but with my family and friends literally on the other side of the world, and my husband in Thailand (he had to go for about 2 weeks when she was a week old), I was ready to call it quits and sell the child to gypsies.

I also loved how they built such an extended "family" amoung the fellow bengali's over the years, which suited their emotional needs at home, but really meant nothing to their children. Even when Gogol married within this family, there was such an emotional guff that the marriage really had a fantastic foundation, but nowhere to go.

Overall, I really think I identified much more with Ashima than with anyone else (and I would have really liked more about Sonia, but I guess she was peripheral to the namesake-thing). Families are so spread all over the country/world these days (our reading group is such a perfect example!), that trying to incorporate into your children a sense of where they come from is so hard.

I know this is disjointed, but I've been trying to compile it over a few weeks - I've no time to proofread! I would love to hear what yal thought about the characters and some of their choices.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Witty Women of Words

Witty Women of Words: "post"
Just wondering where everyone is at with the Namesake. I'm about 4/5ths done. Things have been so quiet for the last month that I thought I'd chime in. Hope everyone is doing well. Gayle