Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri, contains nine short stories about different human relationships, and most of them also speak of the experience of coping with these relationships in a new country.

This Blessed House and The Third and Final Continent are two very different stories of men who have just had arranged marriages, then settle in this country, before they even get to know their spouses. A Temporary Matter and Sexy are stories about relationships that end, while A Real Durwan and The Treatment of Bibi Haldar both take place in India and provide a sad glimpse at two women's lives. The other three stories, When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine, Interpreter of Maladies, and Mrs. Sen's, highlight the cultural differences, especially in spousal and familial relationships.

Short story collections are books that I often don't finish, at least not right away; I'll enjoy some of the stories, but then find a reason to move on. I specifically wanted to read all of Lahiri's stories, it's true, but I can honestly say that she kept my attention. These stories are fascinating, and once I started one, I had to finish it. And I simply adore her writing style, the way it seems to flow, one word after another, so that it's actually hard to stop reading.

These stories are a treat, and I hope you all enjoy them sometime!


Sean P. Farley said...

Acton, you're so nice to have read my blog almost immediately after it was posted (this happens with another reader of mine...do you get messages when a fellow blogger has posted a new blog?). Thanks for the words of encouragement. My frustration comes only from time contstraints. We've got a lot due so I'm frustrated. Interesting that your latest book review has the word "interpreter" in the title and your last message to me has the word "utopia" which I JUST closed our vocabulary book on (no joke, it's one of our vocab words for interpreting class!). Too funny. Hope all is well.

Doug said...

I'll give it a whirl one of these days. I like collections of short stories. Poe and Twain and Sherlock Holmes collections are some of my favorite books. Gabriel Garcia Marquez' Leaf Storms is wonderful, too.

ArtSparker said...

I read this book years ago...I loved the story about the arranged marriage in which the wife discovers a head of Jesus in the attic which she displays on the mantelpiece because she find it hysterically funny and the husband schools himself not to say anything. It seemed to cover such a lot of ground in its elliptical way.

TLP said...

Hey, bring it over! I'm not big on short stories, but if you liked it, I probably will too.

TLP said...

I'm most of the way through this book. I generally really don't like short stories, but these are so well done they don't seem "shortened."

actonbell said...

Hi, Sean! I love reading your updates. Hope you're getting some rest:)
Doug, thank you for the recommendations.
ArtSparker, I agree--that story was memorable.
I'm glad you're enjoying them, Mom.