Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Interpreter of Maladies

Wow! I just finished Jhumpa Lahiri's collection of stories: Interpreter of Maladies. Lahiri is the author of the novel The Namesake, which has become a major motion picture. I recently saw The Namesake and loved it. This sparked my interest in Lahiri.

In Interpreter of Maladies, Lahiri beautifully examines the lives of various Indians, often immigrants to the United States, by presenting the complexities and difficulties one faces when encountering cultural differences. Each story is filled with rich characters.

In A Temporary Matter, we see a marriage falling apart; in Mrs. Sen, we are introduced to a woman who is tragically displaced from her family and culture; and in The Third and Final Continent, we meet a young man who is making his way in a new environment. In this final story, the man tells us: "I know that my achievement is quite ordinary....As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination" (p. 198). This sums up the essence of Lahiri's writing: she turns the ordinary into the magical.


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