Book Journey: Interpreter of Maladies

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Genre: Short Stories, Indian Fiction
Book Name: Interpreter of Maladies
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Pages: 198
Publication Year: 1999
Publisher: Harper Collins
Awards: Pulitzer Prize for Fiction,
Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award,
The New Yorker’s Best Debut of the Year

Not much is required to be said about this widely acclaimed collection of nine short-stories focusing on the first generation Indian immigrants to America and their stories on relationships. The mundane scenes of transition, the cravings from India to America is what would still be valid now in bits and pieces when people are still migrating to foreign countries in search of better education / job alternatives. Jhumpa Lahiri has fabricated the short stories in such a precise manner that one can expect a short story to have in terms of the background and content. In 30 pages, to develop a scene and character and put things to end requires skill. And mainly, you do not have to refer a dictionary like one has to for such award winning books.

However, personally I had liked Namesake better (no, I am not referring to the movie by the same name but the book). Short stories for me, end before they have even developed more the characters or the drama. This book would not have been my first choice to do a read lest I may not have found it in the midst of heavy bounded books on Revolution, Crisis, Freedom Struggle and War.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Jhumpa Lahiri’s elegant stories tell the lives of Indians in exile, of people navigating between the strict traditions they’ve inherited and the baffling New World they must encounter every day. An interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing revelation; a young Midwestern woman is drawn into a tantalizing affair with a married Bengali man; the eccentric nervous Mrs Sen needs to learn to drive if she is to keep her job minding eleven-year-old Eliot after school; a young couple exchange confessions each night as they struggle to cope with the loss of their baby and their failing marriage; and Mr. Pirzada, whose watch is always set to Decca time, worries about his family back in Pakistan.

Whether set in Boston or Bengal, these sublimely understated stories, spiced with humour and subtle detail, speak with universal eloquence to anyone who has ever felt the yearnings of exile or the emotional confusion of the outsider.

About the author:
Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London of Bengali parents, and grew up in Rhode Island, USA. Her prizewinning stories have appeared in many American journals, including the New Yorker. Interpreter of Maladies is her first published collection. It was translated into twenty-nine languages and became a bestseller both in the United States and abroad. Lahiri was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. The Namesake is her first novel.

Rating: 8/10

About Alka

Trying to just make some sense out of things and put some sense into me!! :) :) :)

Posted on November 12, 2015, in Book Reviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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