A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies--her first in nearly a decade.
*A Most Anticipated Novel of 2021 from Buzzfeed; O, The Oprah Magazine; TIME; Vulture; Vogue; LitHub; and Harper's Bazaar*
Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. Lahiri’s narrator, a woman questioning her place in the world, wavers between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties. The city she calls home acts as a companion and interlocutor: traversing the streets around her house, and in parks, piazzas, museums, stores, and coffee bars, she feels less alone.
We follow her to the pool she frequents, and to the train station that leads to her mother, who is mired in her own solitude after her husband’s untimely death. Among those who appear on this woman’s path are colleagues with whom she feels ill at ease, casual acquaintances, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. Until one day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will abruptly change.
This is the first novel Lahiri has written in Italian and translated into English. The reader will find the qualities that make Lahiri’s work so beloved: deep intelligence and feeling, richly textured physical and emotional landscapes, and a poetics of dislocation. But Whereabouts, brimming with the impulse to cross barriers, also signals a bold shift of style and sensibility. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.
About the Author
JHUMPA LAHIRI is the author of four works of fiction: Interpreter of Maladies, The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth, and The Lowland; and a work of nonfiction, In Other Words. She has received numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize; the PEN/Hemingway Award; the PEN/Malamud Award; the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award; the Premio Gregor von Rezzori; the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature; a 2014 National Humanities Medal, awarded by President Barack Obama; and the Premio Internazionale Viareggio-Versilia, for In altre parole.
"A meditative and aching snapshot of a life in suspension... Lahiri’s poetic flourishes and spare, conversational prose are on full display. This beautifully written portrait of a life in passage captures the hopes, frustrations, and longings of solitude and remembrance." —Publishers Weekly [starred review]
“Painterly… exquisitely detailed… [Lahiri’s] language seems to have been sieved through a fine mesh, each word a gleaming gemstone. Such expressive refinement perfectly embodies Lahiri’s narrator, who lives alone in an unnamed Italian city [and] examines her life in first-person vignettes… There is melancholy here, but these concentrated, poignant, and rueful episodes also pulse with the narrator's devotion to observation and her pushing through depression to live on her terms. She exalts in her lively neighborhood, in the country beneath skies as moody as she is, and by the tempestuous sea, all while recording her stealthy battle against her tendency to burrow into her shell. An incisive and captivating evocation of the nature and nexus of place and self.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist
"Elegant, subtle, and sad... Its spare, reflective prose and profound interiority recall the work of Rachel Cusk and Sigrid Nunez." —Kirkus Reviews