The novel was Lahiri’s first foray into long fiction.
By Raif Karerat
An ad-hoc literature committee assembled by the Coeur d’Alene School District in Idaho has recommended removing Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, “The Namesake,” from a list of books approved for the county’s high school curriculum.
According to the Coeur d’Alene Press, the same committee voted last year to remove John Steinbeck’s novella, “Of Mice and Men,” from a list of books teachers may assign to high school freshmen, garnering national media attention.
The committee’s recommendation has initiated a 30-day review period during which the school board will solicit public input on whether it should remove the book from a reading list. During the review period, students, educators, parents, and members of the public are able to weigh in on whether the book — which contains references to recreational drug use — is appropriate for high school-aged students.
“I think input from the committee gives the board an idea as to what the community threshold is for appropriate literature,” Coeur d’Alene School Board Chair Christa Hazel told The Press.
“The Namesake” was Lahiri’s first foray into full-length publishing. Released in 2004, it was originally a novella published in the New Yorker and later expanded to become a fleshed out novel.
The story describes the trials and tribulations of a Bengali couple who immigrate to the United States to form a life drastically different than everything they are accustomed to.
“The Namesake” also made its way to the silver screen in 2006 with a film starring Kal Penn and Bollywood actress Tabu.