Summer 2004 • Vol. XXVI No. 3 Book Reviews |

Virtues of Ambition

The Namesake. By Jhumpa Lahiri. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 290 pp. $24.00.   Ashoke Ganguli rides a train from Calcutta to visit his grandfather, a retired professor of European literature. "'Read all the Russians, and then reread them,' his grandfather had said. 'They will never fail you."' (12). Since early boyhood Ashoke has taken this admonition to heart, reading while his siblings play, reading even while walking, and late at night on the train he sits up with Nikolai Gogol's "The Overcoat," a story he knows intimately. [Ashoke's] mouth watered at the cold veal and cream pastries and champagne Akaky consumed the night his precious coat was stolen, in spite of the fact that Ashoke had never tasted these things himself. Ashoke was always devastated when Akaky was robbed in "a square that looked to him like a dreadful desert," leaving him cold and vulnerable, and Akaky's death, some pages later, never failed to bring tears to his eyes. (14) By describi

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Photo of David Lynn
David H. Lynn is the editor emeritus of The Kenyon Review, a professor of English, and special assistant to the president of the college. He was the editor of the Review from 1994 to 2020. As an author, he received a 2016 O. Henry Award for "Divergence." His latest collection, Children of God: New & Selected Stories, was published in 2019 by Braddock Avenue Books.

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The Lost Brother

By David H. Lynn

The Namesake. By Jhumpa Lahiri. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2003. 290 pp. $24.00.   Ashoke Ganguli rides a train from Calcutta to visit his grandfather, a retired professor of European […]

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