So I’m putting together a reading list for a course I’ll teach next semester on “Postcolonial British Literature.” One title that occurred to me was Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake, which I read this past summer not long before I saw the movie—twice—the second time with my dad—and enjoyed it both times. Since Lahiri describes herself as Indian-American, I guess I can’t quite justify including her novel in a British lit course, but I can still recommend it, and Lahiri’s eloquent description of her experience as a particular type of third-culture-kid:
While I am American by virtue of the fact that I was raised in this country, I am Indian thanks to the efforts of two individuals. I feel Indian not because of the time I’ve spent in India or because of my genetic composition but rather because of my parents’ steadfast presence in my life….
I have always believed that I lack the authority my parents bring to being Indian. But as long as they live they protect me from feeling like an impostor. Their passing will mark not only the loss of the people who created me but the loss of a singular way of life, a singular struggle.