Unaccustomed Earth

"Unaccustomed Earth"

The title story of the book. It is about three generations, and the relationship between the three, the father, his daughter, Ruma, and her son, Akash. The father, a retiree, and also a recent widower, visits his daughter's new home in the suburbs of Seattle. The story explores some of the difficult gender roles in America, such as Ruma's decision to leave her successful legal career to raise children, and her husband's hard work to support the family. It also explores the family issues associated with Ruma's Indian heritage, including her sense of obligation to care for her father and have him live with her and her immediate family. Like Lahiri's other stories, the themes are both cultural and universal. Although more traditional her father tries to persuade her to continue her legal career while being a mother. Also, her father is depicted as someone who was somewhat unhappy with his once traditional lifestyle. He is enjoying his newly found independence in his travels and a relationship with a female friend he recently met. What makes the story most compelling is the limited communication between the father and daughter, both afraid in some way to acknowledge that they have moved away from their culture of origin and have embraced aspects of the new culture. The themes are not predictable. Akash, the grandson, who is the third generation of immigrants, and completely immersed in the new culture, develops a strong fascination with his grandfather's habits that are foreign to him, including a foreign language. This interesting twist to the story is mixed with a look at the universal bond between a child and a grandparent.

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