Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies

4.11 (122,778 ratings by Goodreads)
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Pulitzer-winning, scintillating studies in yearning and exile from a Bengali Bostonian woman of immense promise. A couple exchange unprecedented confessions during nightly blackouts in their Boston apartment as they struggle to cope with a heartbreaking loss; a student arrives in new lodgings in a mystifying new land and, while he awaits the arrival of his arranged-marriage wife from Bengal, he finds his first bearings with the aid of the curious evening rituals that his centenarian landlady orchestrates; a schoolboy looks on while his childminder finds that the smallest dislocation can unbalance her new American life all too easily and send her spiralling into nostalgia for her homeland...Jhumpa Lahiri's prose is beautifully measured, subtle and sober, and she is a writer who leaves a lot unsaid, but this work is rich in observational detail, evocative of the yearnings of the exile (mostly Indians in Boston here), and full of emotional pull and more

Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 130 x 196 x 18mm | 160g
  • HarperCollins Publishers
  • Flamingo
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0006551793
  • 9780006551799
  • 28,624

About Jhumpa Lahiri

jhumpa lahiri has been a Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, but is currently teaching in New York. She has published her fiction in various US journals including the New Yorker, and has won several US prizes for her more

Review quote

'Lahiri has an extraordinary voice' Salman Rushdie 'Jhumpa Lahiri is the kind of writer who makes you want to grab the next person you see and say "Read this!" She's a dazzling storyteller with a distinctive voice, an eye for nuance, an ear for irony. She is one of the finest short story writers I've read.' AMY TAN 'Jhumpa Lahiri's strong, subtle short story collection is a debut to relish.' Guardianshow more

Review Text

India is an inescapable presence in this strong first collection's nine polished and resonant tales, most of which have appeared in The New Yorker and other publications. Lahiri, who was born in London and grew up in Rhode Island, offers stories that stress the complex mechanics of adjustment to new circumstances, relationships, and cultures. Sometimes they're narrated by outside observers like the flatmates of an "excited" (presumably epileptic) young woman "cured" by "relations" with men (in "The Treatment of Bibi Haldar"); the preadolescent American schoolboy cared for at "Mrs. Sen's," where the eponymous immigrant is tortured by the pressure of adapting to American ways; or, most compellingly, the Indian-American girl emotionally touched and subtly matured by the kindness her parents show to a Pakistani friend who fears for the safety of his family back home amid civil war ("When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine"). Richly detailed portrayals of young marriages dominate tales like that of an Indian emigrant's oddly fulfilling relationship with his landlady, a bellicose centenarian ("The Third and Final Continent"); "This Blessed House," in which the wedge afflicting a young couple is widened when they discover "Christian paraphernalia" left behind by their home's former owners; and "A Temporary Matter," which delicately traces how a pair of academics, continually mourning their stillborn baby, find in "an exchange of confessions" a renewal of their intimacy. Lahiri is equally skilled with more sophisticated plots, as in her title story's seriocomic disclosure of a middle-aged tour guide's self-delusive romance, or in the complexity of "Sexy," about a young American woman who's fascinated not only by her married Bengali lover but by all other things Indian - including the manner in which she is and isn't deflected from her passion by an afternoon with an Indian boy victimized by his own father's infidelity. Moving and authoritative pictures of culture shock and displaced identity. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Rating details

122,778 ratings
4.11 out of 5 stars
5 38% (46,449)
4 41% (50,014)
3 17% (21,445)
2 3% (4,021)
1 1% (849)
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