South Asian Writers: A Recommendation

Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake

I was speaking to a childhood friend recently. She was talking about her love for her daughter, but also their ever growing struggles as the young one edged closer to becoming a teenager. I listened and emphasised as best as I could before offering a tried and tested antidote to any situation – a book recommendation!  

‘Read Jhumpa Lahiri’s Namesake,’ I heard myself say. ‘It will help make sense of things!’  

It was an impulsive recommendation, a gut reaction of sorts. It proved to be a good one too, for my friend, who like me grew up in Nepal but now lives in the United States, called me back a week later to say that she’d read Namesake, and felt now better understood her own predicament and also her daughter’s perspective a lot better!  


Ever since I came across Jhupa Lahiri’s work, some 20 years ago now, I find myself returning to her work often. I read Namesake, the writer’s debut novel, not long after it was first published in 2003. Since then, I have spent hours with her short stories and novels (Unaccustomed Earth remains another firm favourite), returning to them time and again. 

I do not fully remember the entire plotline of The Namesake (or of Unaccustomed Earth, for that matter). But I remember how it felt – and remember it strongly enough to know when and whom to recommend it on an impulse! The visceral sense of knowing the world the writer described, of understanding the depth of whatever the characters were going through has stayed with me. What I like about Jhumpa Lahiri’s work is the choices her characters are presented with – the choices they are forced to make and those they choose to make. At the heart of her work is the immigrant experience – the wins and the losses, the sacrifices and the misunderstandings. Perhaps her work draws me in as it resonates with my own immigrant experiences. 

But I think it goes deeper than that. In her writing, Jhumpa Lahiri isn’t scared of tackling difficult emotions and situations head on. In fact, she goes straight to the heart of things. And in doing so, in being courageous in her writing, the writer enables me to be courageous in mine.


Sujana Crawford

Published by thekoyalwriters

We are a South Asian Collective and totally passionate about writing. We are a virtual writing group. Between us we are authors, teachers, spoken word artists, play wrights, novel writers, flash fiction writers and poets.

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Coffee and Paneer

Tiny stories and random thoughts

Sidra Ansari

Award Winning Author|Creative Writing Workshops|@Ladybirdbooks|@beaconbooks|@penguinwritenowlive|

The Koyal Writers

A Collective of South Asian Female Writers Based in the UK

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