Obama buys Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Lowland'

Published Dec 6, 2013, 3:52 pm IST
Updated Mar 18, 2019, 10:18 pm IST
Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Lowland' was among the 20 books that US President Obama bought last week.

Indian-American Pulitzer prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's latest fiction work 'The Lowland' was among the nearly 20 books that US President Barack Obama bought last week during the Thanksgiving holiday for gifting as well as for his own reading.

Obama had taken his daughters Sasha and Malia to the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington as part of an annual post-Thanksgiving tradition for Small Business Saturday.


The President bought 21 books on diverse subjects, each reflecting what "Obama has already read or would like to read," the New York Times said.

Lahiri's 'The Lowland' is a novel of two brothers from Kolkata and is set in India and America as it details the life of one brother who comes to build a new life in America and the other who becomes ensnared in politics back home.

Lahiri said in the New York Times that Obama may relate to his own conflicting paths as the son of a father from Kenya and a mother from Kansas.

"He has a sort of double vision of America as I do, as many people do, many people who have been both brought up and bred within America but also have a different perspective of the country," Lahiri said.


"In a sense, part of him comes from outside America and he embodies both that contradiction and that richness."

In 2010, Obama had appointed Lahiri as a member of his Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

The Lowland was nominated for the prestigious Man Booker Prize as well as the US National Book Award 2013 in the fiction category. However, Lahiri did not win either awards.

Obama also bought Khaled Hosseini's Afghan-set 'The Kite Runner', 'Half Brother' by Kenneth Oppel, 'Moonday' by Adam Rex, 'Red Sparrow' by Jason Matthews, 'The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance' by David Epstein, 'Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football' by Nicholas Dawidoff, and 'Buddha in the Attic' by Julie Otsuka.


Otsuka's novel explores issues of immigrants and America as she chronicles the tale of Japanese women brought to the United States as "picture brides" for?migrant workers, only to have their families wind up in World War II internment camps.

"If anyone knows what it's like to be an outsider from very, very difficult circumstances and someone who had to go back and forth between cultures," it is Obama, Otsuka said.