The last three stories share a common thread. Two Indian families are friends. One returns to India for several years, and when they return to America, stay with the other family for several months. The returning family has a teenage boy while the host family has a daughter just entering her teen years. In Once In A Lifetime, this story is told and the distant relationship between the children is discussed. In Year's End, we hear the son's story as he enters adulthood. His mother has died and his father has remarried, giving him stepsisters. In the book's final story, Going Ashore, we hear the story of what has occurred to the young girl of the host family, and then, these two meet again and become lovers.
Unaccustomed Earth is a New York Times Best Book Of The Year. I enjoyed this book, and I'm often not a fan of short stories. Each story related another dimension of human relationships, often exploring topics I'd not considered. Lahiri has an innate understanding of the myriad human relationships, and the skill to write about her understanding in a way that provokes thought. This book is recommended for all fiction readers.