The Assimilation Artist
April 02, 2008
The fiction of Jhumpa Lahiri is a strong indication that the great American melting pot is in tip-top shape. That’s not just because Lahiri, an Indian-American, is extremely popular, although she is: Knopf has printed 300,000 copies of Unaccustomed Earth, her new story collection, an astoundingly high figure for a writer whose work eludes any comparisons with that of James Patterson or John Grisham. Lahiri writes largely about the American-born children of middle-class Indian immigrants, but in doing so, she also nails the mores of affluent, educated Americans, both Indian and non-Indian.