🇮🇹 After having studied Italian for 20 years, Jhumpa Lahiri decided in 2012 to move to Rome. She aimed to stay there permanently, write only in Italian, and refused to translate her writing into English. 'In Other Words' is an account of her obsession with the language, and, by progression, of a migrant's alienation and lack of identity.
🇺🇸 As a first generation US citizen, Lahiri says she felt anxious for her parents who either could not speak English fluently, or, when they did, spoke it with an ethnic accent. She was ashamed of her own uneven knowledge of Bengali, her mother-tongue. English reminded her of her migrant status, her 'otherness'. Like many immigrants she longed for an identity. And being a writer, she tried to find it in a new language- a clean slate on which she could draw it up on her own terms.
🇮🇳 While Italian gives her many rewards, in the end the writer's identity remains as elusive as ever; Lahiri does not hide her confusion and unbelonging. In this openness, the reader is invited to examine their own identity as a product of their languages. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
(Book in the background is a collection of Bengali short stories called 'Mondo Meyer Upakhyan', or, 'Account of the Fallen Girl'.)