Preorder for April 27, 2021
“Originally written in Italian and then translated by Lahiri into English, this book is as much about language as it is about the character on which it centers. We follow our solitary protagonist as she reflects on her life and her self, the subtlety of plot reminiscent of the most literary of literary fiction.
Told in a series of vignettes, broken by where she is—in place, in memory, in feeling—the protagonist and every person she encounters remains nameless. She could be anyone: deeply nostalgic, deeply aware of her aloneness, in search of who she is at this moment in fleeting time.”
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.