by Jhumpa Lahiri
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 train. They strike up a conversation and begin dating. Ruth leaves for Oxford for a semester and a summer, and when she returns, they no longer get along and break up. Ruth sets up a paradigm for Gogol's "type": she's bookish and Anglo-American – everything his parents are not.