Quotes from The Namesake

Jhumpa Lahiri ·  291 pages

Rating: (200.4K votes)


“That's the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“You are still young, free.. Do yourself a favor. Before it's too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Try to remember it always," he said once Gogol had reached him, leading him slowly back across the breakwater, to where his mother and Sonia stood waiting. "Remember that you and I made this journey together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Pet names are a persistant remnant of childhood, a reminder that life is not always so serious, so formal, so complicated. They are a reminder, too, that one is not all things to all people.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake



“Pack a pillow and blanket and see as much of the world as you can.You will not regret it.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“She has the gift of accepting her life.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Though no longer pregnant, she continues, at times, to mix Rice Krispies and peanuts and onions in a bowl. For being a foreigner Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of lifelong pregnancy -- a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of sorts. It is an ongoing responsibility, a parenthesis in what had once been an ordinary life, only to discover that previous life has vanished, replaced by something more complicated and demanding. Like pregnancy, being a foreigner, Ashima believes, is something that elicits the same curiosity of from strangers, the same combination of pity and respect.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“My grandfather says that's what books are for," Ashoke said, using the opportunity to open the volume in his hands. "To travel without moving an inch.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Remember that you and I made this journey together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake



“One hand, five homes. A lifetime in a fist.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Somehow, bad news, however ridden with static, however filled with echoes, always manages to be conveyed.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“You remind me of everything that followed.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Do what I will never do.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“But she has gathered that Americans, in spite of their public declarations of affection, in spite of their miniskirts and bikinis, in spite of their hand-holding on the street and lying on top of each other on the Cambridge Common, prefer their privacy.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake



“In so many ways, his family's life feels like a string of accidents, unforeseen, unintended, one incident begetting another...They were things for which it was impossible to prepare but which one spent a lifetime looking back at, trying to accept, interpret, comprehend. Things that should never have happened, that seemed out of place and wrong, these were what prevailed, what endured, in the end.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Will you remember this day, Gogol?" his father had asked, turning back to look at him, his hands pressed like earmuffs to either side of his head. "How long do I have to remember it?" Over the rise and fall of the wind, he could hear his father's laughter. He was standing there, waiting for Gogol to catch up, putting out a hand as Gogol drew near. "Try to remember it always," he said once Gogol reached him, leading him slowly back across the breakwater, to where his mother and Sonia stood waiting. "Remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“On a sticky August evening two weeks before her due date, Ashima Ganguli stands in the kitchen of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in bowl.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Pet names are a persistent remnant of childhood, a reminder that life is not always so serious, so formal, so complicated.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Is that what you think of when you think of me?" Gogol asks him. "Do I remind you of that night"?

"Not at all", his father says eventually, one hand going to his ribs, a habitual gesture that has baffled Gogol until now. "You remind me of everything that followed.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake



“Gogol remembers having to do the same thing when he was younger, when his grandparents died...He remembers, back then, being bored by it, annoyed at having to observe a ritual no one else he knew followed, in honor of people he had seen only a few times in his life...Now, sitting together at the kitchen table at six-thirty every evening, his father's chair empty, this meatless meal is the only thing that seems to make sense.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“He tries to peel the image from the sticky yellow backing, to show her the next time he sees her, but it clings stubbornly, refusing to detach cleanly from the past.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“She has given birth to vagabonds. She is the keeper of all these names and numbers now, numbers she once knew by heart, numbers and addresses her children no longer remember.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“She had listened to him, partly sympathetic, partly horrified. For it was one thing for her to reject her background, to be critical of her family's heritage, another to hear it from him.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“...that in spite of living in a mansion an American is not above wearing a pair of secondhand pants, bought for fifty cents.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake



“My grandfather always says that's what books are for. To travel without moving an inch.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Gogol is unaccustomed to this sort of talk at mealtimes, to the indulgent ritual of the lingering meal, and the pleasant aftermath of bottles and crumbs and empty glasses that clutter the table.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“In the days that follow, he begins to remember things about Moushumi, images that come to him without warning while he is sitting at his desk at work, or during a meeting, or drifting off to sleep, or standing in the mornings under the shower. They are scenes he has carried within him, buried but intact, scenes he has never thought about or had reason to conjure up until now.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“Without a single grandparent or parent or uncle or aunt at her side, the baby’s birth, like most everything else in America, feels somehow haphazard, only half true. As she strokes and suckles and studies her son, she can’t help but pity him. She has never known of a person entering the world so alone, so deprived.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake


“She is stunned that in this town there are no sidewalks to speak of, no streetlights, no public transportation, no stores for miles at at a time.”
― Jhumpa Lahiri, quote from The Namesake



About the author

Jhumpa Lahiri
Born place: in London (England), The United Kingdom
Born date July 11, 1967
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Tears sprang to my eyes. “Yes,” I whispered. “All the time. Every minute.”
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