Portrait of the Bengali, message to us all
Faraway cultures usually clash when transposed next door. The best approach, obviously, is to reach out to learn (and grow from the experience), to put differences in perspective, to talk before pelting stones. Lahiri's remarkably intimate and refreshingly direct view of the growth of a girl as she observes the withering of her mother's spirit says more about human nature as a whole than it does on Bengali custom and lifestyle -- and it says a lot on those topics, too. A suitably muted, savory gem that cleanly drafts aspects of the ever-intriguing interpolation of "growth" and "change".