Keep the Culture Close

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One of my favorite books of all time is The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri– so much so that when I had to write an extended essay for the international baccalaureate program in high school on anything in the world, I chose to analyze the effects of Bengali culture and narrative style in these two works. Jhumpa is a truly amazing writer, and she’s able to make a reader vividly imagine a culture so colorful that her Pulitzer prizes and accolades are well-deserved. But what’s stuck with me from this book after all the years is that feeling I had of finally being seen in the literature I was reading. I remember tearing up on the steps of my high school as I was finishing up this book while waiting for my mom to come pick me up– I was full on inspired that a piece of work could effect me in such a way! And it wasn’t just relateability on a surface level or just on a representational basis; it was that the character of Gogol was so real and layered and carefully crafted and powerful that I never grow out of the feeling I get when I read this book. So even now, that same feeling I get through Jhumpa’s writing is something I want to do for myself in my own, and while I’m not great, who knows? Maybe I’ll get there someday! (via Instagram)

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