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The Namesake

The Namesake


Jhumpa Lahiri

 Table of Contents


Essay Lab | Math Shack | Videos

The Namesake Characters

Meet the Cast

Nikhil/Gogol Ganguli

What's in a name?All right, dude. Which is it – Gogol or Nikhil? We're getting a little tired of all the confusion. Of course, so is Gogol. In fact, he seems the most confused out of everyone by...

Ashima Ganguli

Gogol's mother Ashima is the heart of the story. While the other characters don't show a lot of emotion, Ashima is the one who feels. So it's through her that we can really come to understand the f...

Ashoke Ganguli

As fathers go, Ashoke is one of the good ones. We never see him losing his temper with Gogol, or chastising or criticizing him. He is portrayed as so mild-mannered and wise that it's a little hard...

Moushumi Mazoomdar

How can Shmoop put this delicately? Let's just say, it's easy to dislike Moushumi. A bit pretentious and snobby to begin with, we are ready to write her off completely when she cheats on Gogol afte...

Sonali (Sonia) Ganguli

Sonia, Gogol's little sister, is born around the time that Gogol enters kindergarten. Right from the beginning, she reaps the benefits of her parents' experience with Gogol. When she's born, her pa...

Dimitri Desjardins

Ladies and gentlemen, we bring you the home wrecker. We jest, we jest. In the end, it's Moushumi who chooses to have an affair with Dimitri, and we'll never know just how complicit he is in her bet...

Maxine Ratliff

Just out of architecture school, Gogol is working in New York City when he meets Maxine at a party. She's classy, rich, sophisticated – the perfect catch, right? At first, she seems like the answ...

Gerald and Lydia Ratliff

Maxine's parents Gerald and Lydia Ratliff are the polar opposites of Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli. Lydia is a textiles curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and her husband is a successful lawyer...


Graham, a rich investment banker, is Moushumi's ex-fiancé whom she meets while both of them are working in Paris. Moushumi meets Graham through her friends Astrid and Donald, who went to school wi...

Astrid and Donald

Astrid is one of Moushumi's best friends from Brown, and is married to Donald, an artist. They're the sophisticated, artsy, cultured couple that introduces Moushumi to Graham. Moushumi envies Astri...


Ruth is Gogol's first serious girlfriend, but their relationship doesn't last long in terms of pages. Gogol meets Ruth, a white fellow student at Yale when he takes the seat next to her on the trai...


Ghosh is a businessman that Ashoke meets on the fateful night of his train accident in 1961. With the story of his own life, he inspires Ashoke to travel to America. Ghosh had worked in England for...


Ben is Sonia's fiancé, whom we meet at the end of the book. We don't know much about him, other than the fact that he's white and he seems nice enough. Here's hoping those two crazy kids can make...
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