In Other Words (Hardcover)
Lahiri breaks new ground here by not only publishing her first work of nonfiction, but her first in Italian! As a young graduate student, she fell in love with the language during her first trip to Italy. On the surface, this memoir explores her struggles to become fluent in Italian, but she also explores language as a metaphor for belonging and identity. While this book lacks the lush and lyrical prose that dominates her fiction, the insights she shares about learning to think, write, and create in a non-native tongue, and how language can confer insider or outsider status, are peerless. Lahiri opted for somebody else to translate her work into English, and the beautifully printed dual-language format creates a lovely book-as-object, too— From Emily's Picks
February 2016 Indie Next List
“Lahiri traces the origins, tribulations, and tiny victories that have fueled her decades-long courtship with the Italian language in a bilingual memoir that reads more like an intimate diary. The chapters and short stories offer a vivid timeline of Lahiri's turbulent relationship with language, bouncing around from English to Bengali during her childhood, immersing herself in the Italian culture by moving her family overseas, and finally attempting to write a book in a new voice. In Other Words is much more than an attempt -- at self-reflection and reinvention it's a mastery.”
— Carly Lenz (M), Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI
National Best Seller From the best-selling author and Pulitzer Prize winner, a powerful nonfiction debut--an "honest, engaging, and very moving account of a writer searching for herself in words." --Kirkus Reviews (starred) In Other Words is a revelation. It is at heart a love story--of a long and sometimes difficult courtship, and a passion that verges on obsession: that of a writer for another language. For Jhumpa Lahiri, that love was for Italian, which first captivated and capsized her during a trip to Florence after college. Although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery always eluded her. Seeking full immersion, she decides to move to Rome with her family, for "a trial by fire, a sort of baptism" into a new language and world. There, she begins to read, and to write--initially in her journal--solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice. Presented in a dual-language format, this is a wholly original book about exile, linguistic and otherwise, written with an intensity and clarity not seen since Vladimir Nabokov: a startling act of self-reflection and a provocative exploration of belonging and reinvention.
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. ANN GOLDSTEIN is an editor at The New Yorker. She has translated works by, among others, Elena Ferrante, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Primo Levi, Giacomo Leopardi, and Alessandro Baricco, and is the editor of The Complete Works of Primo Levi in English. She has been the recipient of the PEN Renato Poggioli Translation Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and awards from the Italian Foreign Ministry and from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.