Whereabouts: A novel (Hardcover)

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Description


A marvelous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Lowland and Interpreter of Maladies—her first in nearly a decade—about a woman questioning her place in the world, wavering between stasis and movement, between the need to belong and the refusal to form lasting ties.
 
A Most Anticipated Novel of 2021 from 
 Buzzfeed  O, The Oprah Magazine  TIME  Vulture  Vogue  LitHub  Harper's Bazaar

Exuberance and dread, attachment and estrangement: in this novel, Jhumpa Lahiri stretches her themes to the limit. In the arc of one year, an unnamed narrator in an unnamed city, in the middle of her life’s journey, realizes that she’s lost her way. The city she calls home acts as a companion and interlocutor: traversing the streets around her house, and in parks, piazzas, museums, stores, and coffee bars, she feels less alone.

We follow her to the pool she frequents, and to the train station that leads to her mother, who is mired in her own solitude after her husband’s untimely death. Among those who appear on this woman’s path are colleagues with whom she feels ill at ease, casual acquaintances, and “him,” a shadow who both consoles and unsettles her. Until one day at the sea, both overwhelmed and replenished by the sun’s vital heat, her perspective will abruptly change.
 
This is the first novel Lahiri has written in Italian and translated into English. The reader will find the qualities that make Lahiri’s work so beloved: deep intelligence and feeling, richly textured physical and emotional landscapes, and a poetics of dislocation. But Whereabouts, brimming with the impulse to cross barriers, also signals a bold shift of style and sensibility. By grafting herself onto a new literary language, Lahiri has pushed herself to a new level of artistic achievement.

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.

Praise For…


“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
  
“Fresh, unique . . . Lahiri [has] stretched the form of the novel. Wandering through an anonymous life, seeing things through one person’s eyes, is enjoyable . . . At one point the narrator becomes as voyeuristic as her readers, following a stranger on the street and asking herself, ‘What’s her face like? Has she always lived here, like me?’ Each chapter floats by quickly, [with] sparse and lyrical prose.”
—Rob Merrill, Associated Press
 
“Elegant . . . Lyrical . . . Beautiful.”
—Michael Magras, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Painterly… exquisitely detailed… [Lahiri’s] language seems to have been sieved through a fine mesh, each word a gleaming gemstone. Such expressive refinement perfectly embodies Lahiri’s narrator, who lives alone in an unnamed Italian city [and] examines her life in first-person vignettes… There is melancholy here, but these concentrated, poignant, and rueful episodes also pulse with the narrator's devotion to observation and her pushing through depression to live on her terms. She exalts in her lively neighborhood, in the country beneath skies as moody as she is, and by the tempestuous sea, all while recording her stealthy battle against her tendency to burrow into her shell. An incisive and captivating evocation of the nature and nexus of place and self.”
—Donna Seaman, Booklist

"Elegant, subtle, and sad... Its spare, reflective prose and profound interiority recall the work of Rachel Cusk and Sigrid Nunez."
Kirkus 


Product Details
ISBN: 9780593318317
ISBN-10: 0593318315
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: April 27th, 2021
Pages: 176
Language: English

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