Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: with her new novel “Whereabouts” (Penguin), Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit.
The woman at the center wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home, an engaging backdrop to her days, acts as a confidant: the sidewalks around her house, parks, bridges, piazzas, streets, stores, coffee bars.
We follow her to the pool she frequents and to the train station that sometimes leads her to her mother, mired in a desperate solitude after her father’s untimely death. In addition to colleagues at work, where she never quite feels at ease, she has girl friends, guy friends, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits.
One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will change. This is the first novel she has written in Italian and translated into English. It brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.
Commenting on the publication of her book, Jhumpa Lahiri said: “I am so grateful to Meru Gokhale and to all at Penguin Random House India for following me on my creative journey and publishing this new novel, born from my love of a new language.”
Meru Gokhale, Publisher, Penguin Press, Penguin Random House India, said: “Jhumpa Lahiri is that rare writer who can effortlessly evoke the details of time and space with stark, minimal prose, saying so much by saying so little. Her new novel is a true literary event, and we are delighted to publish it.”
Jhumpa Lahiri is the author of four works of fiction: “Interpreter of Maladies”, “The Namesake”, “Unaccustomed Earth” and, most recently, “The Lowland”. A recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award and a Guggenheim Fellowship, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012.