Saturday, June 19, 2010

Interpreter of Maladies: Jhumpa Lahiri


Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In "A Temporary Matter," published in The New Yorker, a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. Lahiri writes with deft cultural insight reminiscent of Anita Desai and a nuanced depth that recalls Mavis Gallant. She is an important and powerful new voice.

I picked this collection up along with The Thing Around Your Neck at my local library, and I enjoyed it about as much as I enjoyed that collection. The stories were well written, I think Lahiri has a wonderful style to her writing. Each of the stories were realistic, with real situations and characters. I liked getting the chance to see and learn more about Indian culture through Lahiri's characters. Her descriptions painted a clear picture of the settings and characters. She put just the right amount of detail into her work.

As I said, I enjoyed every story in the collection. They each had an interesting tale to tell. I'd have to say I enjoyed "Sexy" and "The Third And Final Continent" the best.

I will definitely be checking out Lahiri's novels. If they're anything like her short stories, I know I'll enjoy them.

Overall rating: 10/10

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