Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
From the back cover –
Winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, this stunning debut collection unerringly charts the emotional journey of characters seeking love beyond the barrier of nations and generations. “A writer of uncommon sensitivity and restraint… Ms. Lahiri expertly captures the out-of-context lives of immigrants, expatriates, and first-generation Americans” (Wall Street Journal). In stories that travel from India to America and back again, Lahiri speaks with universal eloquence to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Honored as “Debut of the Year” by The New Yorker and winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award, Interpreter of Maladies introduces a young writer of astonishing maturity and insight who “breathes unpredictable life into the page” (New York Times).
My thoughts –
I typically do not go for short story collections, but I picked this one up because I absolutely fell in love with Lahiri’s novel, The Namesake (read this book, people… it’s really good). I was pleasantly surprised at how much I truly enjoyed (most of) the stories in this little book. Lahiri truly writes characters that a person can care about… even in a 15-page story, I found myself becoming so immersed in these characters’ lives, and really caring about the issues they were dealing with. Some of my favorite stories in this collection were “A Temporary Matter”, in which a young Indian-American couple is dealing with the heartbreaking aftermath of a stillborn baby and the deterioration of their relationship because of that, “Sexy”, which reminded me of an Indian version of the book Shopgirl by Steve Martin, and “This Blessed House”, in which an Indian-American couple, married for only four months and just getting to know each other as their union was the result of an arranged marriage, entertaines some friends for a housewarming party. Some of the other stories I didn’t enjoy as much, but I was still able to appreciate the characters in every one. I highly recommend this collection, and am looking forward to reading Lahiri’s latest book, Unaccustomed Earth.