#BookBeginnings Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

Today we’re looking forward to starting the next book in The Bestseller Code 100 challenge, Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri for Book Beginnings on Fridays.

Book Beginnings is a fun meme hosted by Rose City Reader blog. To participate, share the first sentence or so of a novel you are reading and your thoughts about it. When you are finished, add your URL to the Book Beginnings page linked above. Hope to see you there!



Unaccustomed Earth* by Jhumpa Lahiri

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

What the book is about:

In this collection of eight short stories the author explores how the lives of people are changed as they migrate from place to place, specifically from South Asia to America. She asks the question whether — as a quote from Nathaniel Hawthorne suggests — people thrive when they “strike their roots into unaccustomed earth” instead of being “planted and replanted, for too long a series of generations, in the same worn-out soil.”

First Sentence of the First Short Story:

“After her mother’s death, Ruma’s father retired from the pharmaceutical company where he had worked for many decades and began traveling in Europe, a continent he’d never seen.”


Isn’t it interesting how much word choice matters? The author makes it clear to the reader that Ruma is the main character by introducing the father by his relationship to Ruma. In fact, the author does not even name him until much further on.

Glancing through the pages, I’m taken by how extensive the descriptions are. The book I read last week, Night Watch, was heavy on dialogue and light on descriptions. It will be interesting to see how the two compare.

How much description do you like in the novels you read?


  1. Laurel-Rain Snow

    I do enjoy descriptions in a book…and this one sounds tempting. Thanks for sharing…and for visiting my blog.

    • Roberta

      When I was younger I used to skip the descriptions most of the time. Over the years, I’ve come to appreciate them more, I guess.

  2. Yvonne@FictionBooks

    Hi Roberta,

    I too, am a lover of good, descriptive writing, although the dialogue also has to be engaging, to make a book the complete package for me to enjoy.

    As well as the first lines you shared, I also enjoyed the quote from the premise about people thriving in new soil, I so agree with that sentiment.

    Whilst I am not a cover art junkie, I also believe that a good cover should in some way reflect the storyline of the book, without giving too much away.

    Thanks for sharing and enjoy your weekend 🙂


  3. Mareli Thalwitzer

    Mostly I like description in novels. Take a book like All the light we cannot see. If you take away all the descriptive narrative, you might lessen the book by half. But I loved it!

    Great phrase – trauma narrative. I haven’t read The Orphan Master’s son. I know it was in my Book Club a year or two ago, but I just didn’t get around to reading it.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier!

  4. Elizabeth (Silver's Reviews)

    I read this with my book club.

    A good read.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Silver’s Reviews
    My Book Beginnings

    • Roberta

      Sorry if I’m a little behind this week. Thanks for stopping by.

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