The Namesake

Written by Jhumpa Lahiri

About Jhumpa Lahiri

  • Born in London on July 11, 1967
  • Her parents are Indian immigrants from West Bengal
  • She currently lives in New York City

More About the Book

The Namesake was published in 2003. The story is set in the modern-day United States and follows the life of Gogol Ganguli

The Namesake was made into a feature film in 2006


Gogol Ganguli - main character

Ashima Ganguli - Gogol's mother

Ashoke Ganguli - Gogol's Father

Maxine Ratliff - Gogol's long time white girlfriend, until his father dies

Moushumi Mazoomdar - Gogol's wife (for now)

Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli - Gogol's Sister


To make it simple: Gogol hates his name and Bengali heritage, so becomes as white as possible. He ditches his name, dates white girls, like Maxine, and goes to Yale and Columbia Universities. Then, his dad dies. He immediately dumps Maxine and goes back to being Gogol. He then gets back to his Bengali roots, and reconnects with his family to a point. Not an overly happy-ending type conclusion, but it wraps the book up well.

Multicultural Aspects

The Namesake was written by an ethnically Bengali English female. It is about a family of Indian immigrants and their first-generation American children living in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It would be hard to squeeze more cultures into a book.


Other than the occasional one-liner, this book is not overly humorous. It is more of a serious piece, but is still very enjoyable to read.


It is very relatable to teens, because the main theme of the story is finding and accepting who you are. This is something that many teens struggle with and go through.