In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

In Other Words by Jhumpa LahiriIn Other Words
Published by Random House Audio
on February 9, 2016
Genres: Memoir
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
From the Pulitzer Prize winner, a surprising, powerful, and eloquent nonfiction debut

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. And although Lahiri studied Italian for many years afterward, true mastery had always eluded her. So in 2012, seeking full immersion, she decided to move to Rome with her family, for “a trial by fire, a sort of baptism” into a new language and world.

In Rome, Lahiri began to read, and to write—initially in her journal—solely in Italian. In Other Words, an autobiographical work written in Italian, investigates the process of learning to express oneself in another language, and describes the journey of a writer seeking a new voice. Presented in a dual-language format, 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 and a provocative exploration of belonging and reinvention.

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.


I want you to just take a minute to click on the underlined more… up there and read what this book is about. Read it carefully.

There. Did you do it?

So you realize that Lahiri, a woman born in London, raised in Rhode Island, and raised in her mother’s Bengali heritage, sought to learn to read and write Italian AND THEN DID IT. And then she wrote a book about it IN ITALIAN.

Go ahead. Just sit back and think about that. And realize she is THE WOMAN. I’ll wait.

Are you impressed? Because I am. Not surprised, no, cause we all know Lahiri is a brilliant woman, a fantastic writer, and, obviously, brave — but I can’t help but be impressed. Mainly because, while I have often wanted to learn another language beyond the high school French I remember, I would never have the ambition to do what she did to reach her goal. And then to just do it – DO IT – so damn well. Truly, this book is a wonder. And the audio? Y’all. Lahiri reads this book. In English. Then in Italian.

It is amazing and I highly recommend listening to it.

3 thoughts on “In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri

  1. I am so so SO impressed with Lahiri for doing this. I wasn’t wild about the book of hers I read previously, but I want to read In Other Words if for no other reason than it is just so damn cool that she managed to write it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *