Jhumpa Lahiri’s “In Other Words” is a beautiful memoir of studying the Italian language! Since I am learning Italian I could relate to many of the things she mentions in the book. It is almost unbelieavble but true but there were parts in the book where I felt she was talking about me!
I could feel her sense of helplessness and passion. I could feel her frustrations and achivements. In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri is an honest account of her Italian journey. There were many passages that resonated with me clearly. In the end, I felt a yearning to visit Italy again, to hear the language, to speak it and to understand it better than before.
In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri
When she talks about learning the language: “Because in the end to learn a language, to feel connected to it, to have a dialogue, however childlike however imperfect.”
When she talks about Florence: “I love this trip. I go out of the house leaving behind the rest of my life. Each time it feels like a small flight.”
When she talks about reading in Italian: “I find that reading in another language is more intimate, we don’t come from the same place, from the same family.”
When she gets restless while learning: “Often, awake and restless in the middle of the night, I go to the desk to compose some paragraphs in Italian. It is absolutely a secret project.”
When she reads in Italian: “When I read in Italian, I feel like a guest, a traveller.” -“Maybe because in Italian I have the freedom to be imperfect”
When she compares Italian to Venice: -“My writing in Italian is just like a bridge, something constructed, fragile. English flows under my feet”.
When she talks about publishing the book in Italian: -“In Other Words will now have an identity independent of me. The first readers will be Italians; it will be found, first, in Italian bookstores. In time it will be translated, transformed.” Thank you, Jhumpa Lahiri for a wonderful memoir. It made me feel so much more connected to Italy and the Italian language. I hope that one day I will pen down a book about my language learning too. Because after all Italian has left me smitten.It is a language that has touched my soul….!