January 18, 2021

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘The Lowland’ shows immigrant literature is obsolete

1 min read

TheLowlandTo classify a novel as rich in texture as The Lowland as simply “immigrant fiction” would be to make the book much smaller than it is, says Gracie Jin in Policymic.

For one thing, the term “immigrant literature” itself is not very useful. “Writers have always tended to write about the worlds they come from,” Lahiri says in an interview with the New York Times. “If certain books are to be termed immigrant fiction, what do we call the rest?…Given the history of the United States, all American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction.” To insist that Lahiri’s books are “immigrant fiction” in a separate category from American fiction is the literary equivalent of asking someone like Lahiri, “Where are you from?” only to hear the tired, over-practiced answer: “Well, my parents were born in…but I’m an American citizen.”

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