The Namesake Quotes

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“On a sticky August evening two weeks before her due date, Ashima Ganguli stands in the of a Central Square apartment, combining Rice Krispies and Planters peanuts and chopped red onion in a bowl. She adds salt, lemon juice, thin slices of green chili pepper, whishing there were mustard oil to add to the mix.” p. 1


“Like a kiss or a caress in a Hindi movie, a husband’s name is something intimate and therefore unspoken, cleverly patched over.” p. 2 ⇒
“Do yourself a favor. Before it’s too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can.  You will not regret it. One day it will be too late.” p. 16 ⇒

“He was still clutching a page of “The Overcoat,” crumpled tightly in his fist, and when he raised his hand the wad of papers dropped from his fingers.” p. 18

“Ashima means “she who is limitless, without borders.” Ashoke, the name of  an emperor, means “he who transcends grief.” p. 26

“On more than one occasion he has come home from the university to find her morose, in bed, rereading her parents’ letters. Early mornings, when he senses that she is quietly crying, he puts an arm around her, but can think of  nothing to say, feeling that it is his fault, for marrying her, for bringing her here.” p. 33


“For thirty-three years, she missed her life in India. Now she will miss her job at the library, the women with whom she’s worked. She will miss throwing parties… She will miss the country in which she had grown to know and love her husband. Though his ashes have been scattered in the Ganges, it is here, in this house and in this town, that he will continue to dwell in her mind.” p. 279


“When Ashima and Ashoke see their son’s pet named typed on the label of a prescription for antibiotics, when they see it at the top of his immunization record, it doesn’t look right; pet names aren’t meant to be made public in this way.” p. 36


"The wives, homesick and bewildered, turn to Ashima for recipes and advice, and she tells them about the carp that's sold in Chinatown, that it's possible to make halwa from Cream of Wheat...They drink tea with sugar and evaporated milk and eat shrimp cutlets fried in saucepans.” p. 38 ⇒

“Only then, forced at six months to confront his destiny, does he begin to cry.” p. 40

“Mrs. Jones leads a life that Ashoke’s mother would consider humiliating: eating alone, driving herself to work in snow and sleet, seeing her children and grandchildren, at most, three or four times a year.” p. 48 ⇒

“For being a foreigner, Ashima is beginning to realize, is a sort of a lifelong pregnancy—a perpetual wait, a constant burden, a continuous feeling out of  sorts.” p. 49

“Each day Ashoke is pained by the half-eaten sandwiches people toss in the

 
garbage cans on campus, apples abandoned after one or two bites. “Finish it, Gogol. At your age, I ate tin.” p. 55

“The name, Nikhil, is artfully connected to the old one. Not only is it a perfectly respectable Bengali good name, meaning “he who is entire, encompassing all,” but it also bears a satisfying resemblance to Nikolai, the first name of the Russian Gogol.” p. 56


“He is afraid to be Nikhil, someone he does not know. Who doesn’t know him.” p. 57

“For their daughter, good name and pet name are one and the same: Sonali, meaning “she who is golden.” p. 62

“It doesn’t bother him that his name is never an option on key chains or metal pins or refrigerator magnets… Though substitute teachers at school always pause, looking apologetic when they arrive at his name on the roster, forcing Gogol to call out, before even being summoned, “That’s me,” teachers in the school system know not to give it a second thought.” p. 66-67 ⇒

“Gogol is old enough to know that there is no Ganguli here. He is old enough to know that he himself will be burned, not buried, that his body will occupy no plot of earth, that no stone in this country will bear his name beyond...
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