This book follows the Ganguli family from their traditional life in Calcutta through their fraught transformation into Americans. On the heels of their arranged wedding, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli settle together in Cambridge, Massachusetts. An engineer by training, Ashoke adapts far less warily than his wife, who resists all things American and pines for her family. When their son is born, they give him a name that is neither Indian nor American nor even really a first name at all. He grows up a bright American boy but like many second-generation immigrants, he can never quite find his place in the world.