In rendering Homi Bhabha’s concept of the unhomely, or “the estranging sense of the relocation of the home and the world—the unhomeliness—that is the condition of extra-territorial and cross-cultural initiations,” through the sounds and daily events of a young girl’s life, Jhumpa Lahiri exposes a particular formation of unhomeliness
His voice a thin radio rasp, Neil Armstrong coaches Buzz Aldrin down the ladder of the Lunar Module. “It’s about a three footer,” he says of that last step to the chalky surface below. The second man on the moon leaps from the final rung and lands buoyantly.
Inside most classrooms lives a beast, many-eyed. If you’ve been a student in a classroom, especially in those early grades when a year lasts an eon, you’ve been part of this beast. You saw your elementary-school teachers with a collective, sharpened vision (their combovers, fluffy perms, paunches, thick, magnifying