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Whereabouts

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  • Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
  • ISBN: 9781526629951
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
  • Publication Date: May 4, 2021
  • Format: Paperback – 176 pages
  • Language: English


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Description

‘A rare kind of literary celebrity’ – VOGUE

‘A hypnotic disappearing act’ – OBSERVER

‘If the antidote to a year of solitude and trauma is art, then this novel is the answer. It is superb’ – SUNDAY TIMES

The new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning, Man Booker Prize-shortlisted author: a haunting portrait of a woman, her decisions, her conversations, her solitariness, in a beautiful and lonely Italian city

The woman moves through the city, her city, on her own.

She moves along its bright pavements; she passes over its bridges, through its shops and pools and bars. She slows her pace to watch a couple fighting, to take in the sight of an old woman in a waiting room; pauses to drink her coffee in a shaded square.

Sometimes her steps take her to her grieving mother, sealed off in her own solitude. Sometimes they take her to the station, where the trains can spirit her away for a short while.

But in the arc of a year, as one season gives way to the next, transformation awaits. One day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will change forever.

A rare work of fiction, Whereabouts – first written in Italian and then translated by the author herself – brims with the impulse to cross barriers. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement. A dazzling evocation of a city, its captures a woman standing on one of life’s thresholds, reflecting on what has been lost and facing, with equal hope and rage, what may lie ahead.

Reviews

“An unusual literary and linguistic feat“ —NEW YORK TIMES

“Subtle and stirring . . . A fascinating departure in cadence and form for Lahiri. Told in fragments, Whereabouts [is written with] the sort of deft hand so few can properly wield: it evokes the sort of slow thrum of despair and loneliness so few can manage well. But Lahiri is no ordinary writer. There’s a calming sense of comfort one finds in the solitude experienced by our main character, largely due to the exactness of Lahiri’s writing. Poetic as she is and always has been, seemingly innocuous turns of phrase cut to the core, while descriptions of light and darkness take you aback and make you swoon. Elegant, beautiful . . . Whereabouts will stay with you longer than you anticipate.”—Alicia Lutes, USA Today
 
“A meditative and aching snapshot of a life in suspension… Lahiri’s poetic flourishes and spare, conversational prose are on full display. This beautifully written portrait of a life in passage captures the hopes, frustrations, and longings of solitude and remembrance.”—Publishers Weekly [starred review]

“Hypnotic…a book [whose] peculiar magnetism lies in its clash of candour and coyness.”—Anthony Cummins, The Guardian

“Skillful… composed of brief, almost airy entries, where sentences are honed to minimalist beauty. A loose narrative emerges of an Italian woman at a crossroads in her life . . . The chapters detail encounters, but other humans are like passing shadows. The pain of the narrator’s isolation feels extremely real. In translating the novel’s Italian title, ‘Dove Mi Trovo’ (‘where I find myself’ or ‘where I am’), Lahiri avoids the implied ‘myself’ and focuses instead on the spatial: Whereabouts. It’s a beautiful translation, one that reminds me of Hannah Arendt’s question ‘Where are we when we think?’ Setting, the narrator concludes, is interchangeable . . . The most exciting moments of the novel are when it becomes a novel of thinking, when it dives down into its sharp, provocative fragments.”—Madeleine Thien, The New York Times Book Review
 
“Some books leave you with a feeling for which there are no words, or at least no words in English that you know of. Jhumpa Lahiri’s Whereabouts is one of those books. The feeling closest to what is evoked by this beautifully crafted novel is a stroll during the blue hour on the first warm evening of spring. A jewel of a book.”—Arlene McKanic, BookPage

Author Biography

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. Her debut collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Hemingway Award, The New Yorker Debut of the Year, and an Addison M. Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. It was an international bestseller, translated into more than thirty languages. Her first novel, The Namesake, was a New York Times Notable Book, a Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist, and selected as one of the best books of the year by USA Today and Entertainment Weekly, among other publications. Her second collection, Unaccustomed Earth, was a New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time, and People Magazine Best Book of the Year, a finalist for the Story Prize, and winner of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her most recent book is her second novel, The Lowland (published September 2013). A recipient of Guggenheim and National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, she was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2012. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and two children.

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