"Ashima never thinks of her husband's name
when she thinks of her husband, even though she knows perfectly well
what it is. She has adopted his surname but refuses, for propriety's
sake, to utter his first. It's not the type of thing Bengali wives do.
Like a kiss or caress in a Hindi movie, a husband's name is something
intimate and therefore unspoken, cleverly patched over."
It's our general feeling that movies based on books never quite
measure up. That's probably because we're book nerds. Not film nerds.
Even so, there's something about this trailer for Jhumpa Lahiri's
best-selling tour de force The Namesake that gave us a little
chill down our spine when we watched it -- and that's saying a lot,
considering it's a thousand degrees and counting outside. We feverishly
enjoyed The Namesake (if you're first-generation in your
family, as this half of WU is, this book is an absolute
must-read). And we're zealots when it comes to each and every tale
in Interpreter of Maladies. There's a reason why a
short-story collection won a Pulitzer Prize: it's honestly THAT good.
You guys probably already knew that. Lahiri got her MFA at BU, and many of the pieces in Maladies take place right here in our fine city. Live it, love it.
Maud Newton tipped us off to this Tube'd version of the trailer. It's visually arresting, no doubt (and holler, Kumar looks damn good when he's not at White Castle) but the insane emotional weight of Lahiri's words is what makes this thing. She's a wizard at understated dialogue. Perhaps The Namesake
will actually match the beauty of the novel, perhaps not. We just
hope that even more people pay due attention to Lahiri. She's still
quite a young writer and has many surprises in store, we think.
ELSEWHERE:* Listen to "This Blessed House," one of the best stories in Interpreter of Maladies, read on NPR's This American Life* Read the first story from the collection: "A Temporary Matter", via The New York Times* Listen to an interview with Lahiri on WHYY's Fresh Air, in which she discusses The Namesake* Read a lovely excerpt from The Namesake