Tuesday, April 12, 2016

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

Yay, another book by one of my favorite authors! And what a trip this one is. Lahiri speaks Bengali and English, but she also started learning Italian. She studies the language for decades and finally moves to Rome with her family.

This book is a collection of essays about her journey of falling in love with Italian and her process in learning it. She actually wrote the book in Italian and it's translated into English (but not by her). So, on the left side, is the Italian, and on the right page is the English translation. (I became so used to just reading the right page that when I picked up other books, I found myself skipping the left page a couple of times! Whoops.)

My favorite essay is titled "The Wall" in which Lahiri describes how frustrating it is that because of how she looks, Italians don't understand her Italian or they automatically speak to her in English instead of Italian. Furthermore, her husband is American yet could pass for Italian and speaks a blend of Spanish/Italian and so Italians thought that his Italian was excellent even though Lahiri was the one who had spent a lot of her life studying and trying to perfect the language.

A lovely and beautiful book. Especially touching if you've ever spent time abroad trying to learn a language.

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