In Other Words
From the bestselling Pulitzer Prize winner: a stunning non-fiction debut, written in Italian: a memoir about her encounters living, speaking and writing in a language not her own - her most intimate, revealing and exciting book to date.
- Publish Date
- March 2016
In Other Words 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 afterwards, full mastery had always eluded her. So in 2012, seeking full immersion, she decided to uproot herself, her husband and two children, and move to Rome for 'a trial by fire, a sort of baptism' into a new world and way of being.
Over the course of three years, Lahiri read, spoke, wrote - even in her journal - solely in Italian, slowly beginning to feel she could not only communicate in Italian, but fully express herself, even in fiction. In spare and luminous prose, and drawing, too, on Lahiri's parent's own experiences with another culture when they first came to America, In Other Words explores the often emotionally fraught links between identity and language. It is a book about exile, linguistic and otherwise, written with an intensity and clarity not seen since Nabokov.
A startling act of self-reflection; a powerful exploration of a surprising, life-changing passion; and a provocative, piercingly eloquent book that showcases a remarkable writer's signature gifts, it is her most intimate, revealing and exciting book to date.