Interpreter of maladies
By now Jhumpa Lahiri is a household name, by most counts she’s a very good writer with a great public appeal – I remember reading a really appreciative review of her second short story collection “The Unaccustomed Earth” – and yet I stumbled upon her debut volume in a friend’s house last weekend so I gave it a try. Normally, I’m not a short story fan – but this wasn’t just another short story. Maybe it’s my thing for writers of Indian (Bangladesh, in this case) descent, or maybe (and most likely) it’s the sheer brilliance of her writing, but I simply fell in love. With the book, with her…with everything.
There are 9 short stories, each about a Indian immigrant in the US (as Ms. Lahiri herself is) – except for “The interpreter of maladies”, which takes place in India. All of them feature rather ordinary moments in ordinary people’s lives – it’s almost voyeuristic, in a way – you feel like you’ve stepped into the intimacy of a household and you’re watching them from behind a curtain. You’re a witness to little dramas, little disappointments or little joys – just a handful of the bricks life is made of.
Most of the stories are…I would say sad, except that I think bittersweet is a much better description. And the way I see it, it’s something all Indian descendant authors I’ve read (true, not that many, but I’m working on it) share – a certain longing for a long lost “home” that turns their characters towards nostalgia and a passive acceptance of certain things in their new life. Bittersweet – there’s nothing that works better.
And, the ever-so-funny Raych wrote about it – she loved it, yay! 😛 I mean, there’s no way you won’t love this book – and even if you’re not all that crazy about it, at least it’s tiny 😉 Me, I wanted it to go on forever 😀