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Italian Heritage Month: Faculty Book Club Discussion
In Other Words: Jhumpa Lahiri, Ann Goldstein (Translation)
Facilitated by Professors Tom Means and Kristina Varade
The Faculty Book Club Discussion is open to all BMCC faculty, students and staff.
Lahiri’s In Other Words is described in Booklist as follows:*
“Celebrated short story writer and novelist Lahiri (The Lowland, 2013) presents her first book of nonfiction and first book not written in English. The why and how of this radical change in her literary life is the primary theme in this arresting, intricate, bilingual chronicle of a daring experiment. Lahiri experienced her first linguistic complication as a girl when her family left Calcutta for America, where she spoke Bengali at home and English everywhere else. She fell in enchanted love with Italian as a graduate student and pursued this ardor for years without achieving fluency. So she decided to move to Rome with her husband and young children so that she could live and breathe Italian. Lahiri writes lithely and perceptively about being a “linguistic pilgrim” and her first attempt to write in Italian: “I’ve never felt so stupid.” It is acutely disorienting for a writer to lose her facility with language, which was the jolt and challenge Lahiri felt she needed to take a new artistic approach. Indeed, there is a cadence of discovery in these elegantly turned, metaphor-inlaid essays, while the two short stories Lahiri includes present us with a pared-down, more direct, more universal voice. A richly meditative, revealing, and involving “linguistic autobiography” about language and the self, creativity, risk, and metamorphosis.” –Donna Seaman