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Interpreter of Maladies: Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond

Paperback
Language: English
Length: 198 Pages
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers
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Interpreter of Maladies: Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond By Jhumpa Lahiri
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Interpreter of Maladies: Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond (Paperback) Price: Rs.175

Published first in the year 1999, Interpreter Of Maladies is a collection of short stories that revolve around the lives of Indian Americans, and their struggle to blend in with American culture.

Summary Of The Book

Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of nine short stories that are based on Indian American who are crunched between the culture they live in, and the culture inherited by them. The first story, A Temporary Matter, revolves around the crumbling relationship between an Indian couple, Shukumar and Shobha. Their relationship begins to disintegrate due to the passing away of their baby, which causes a change in Shobha’s personality and makes her aloof. With time, the distance between them increases, and they soon receive a notice about a power cut that would occur for one hour at night daily. Each day, they would spend that time talking about a number of dark secrets, which they never shared before, which got more, and more controversial, indicating the end of their marriage.

The main story of this book, Interpreter of Maladies, is based on Mr. and Mrs. Das, who were NRIs visiting India. They meet Mr. Kapasi, who serves as their tour guide, and has a day job as well, which was that of an interpreter in a doctor’s clinic. Mrs. Das and Mr. Kapasi begin to feel a strong attraction towards each other, and she shares a highly personal secret with him about herself, which could place her marriage in jeopardy.

Another story in this book, Mrs. Sen’s, revolves around an 11 year old Eliot who begins to stay with Mrs. Sen, whose husband is a university professor. She spends her time with Eliot, telling him about her life in Calcutta, and how she terribly missed living there. One day, she drives to the market without her spouse and meets with an accident, after which Eliot stops living with Mrs. Sen.

Interpreters of Maladies has been greatly appreciated by readers worldwide, and fetched Lahiri the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book has sold more than 15 million copies across the globe.

About Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri is an author.

Lahiri has written The Namesake, The Lowland, and Unaccustomed Earth.

Lahiri was born on 11th July, 1967, in London, England. She was raised in Kingston, Rhode Island, America, as her father worked at the University of Rhode Island as a Librarian. She completed her schooling from South Kingstown High School, and finished her undergraduate degree from Barnard College in English Literature. She then went on to obtain an MA in English, MA in Comparative Literature, and an MFA in Creative Writing, all from Boston University. She is also a part of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, elected by President Obama. Lahiri has been awarded several times for her literary works, and some of the recent ones include the Asian American Literary Award and the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. She currently resides in Rome, Italy, along with her spouse, and their two children.

Specifications of Interpreter of Maladies: Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond (Paperback)

Contributors
Author Jhumpa Lahiri
Book Details
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers
Publication Year 1999
ISBN-13 9788172235024
ISBN-10 817223502X
Language English
Edition 3rdEdition
Binding Paperback
Number of Pages 198 Pages
Awards Pulitzer Prize Winner
Award Year 2000
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Book Reviews of Interpreter of Maladies: Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond

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Most Helpful Reviews (5 of 14)

★★★★★
★★★★★
17 April 12
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Flawless Prose

Jhumpa Lahiri’s ‘Interpreter of Maladies, stories of Bengal, Boston and beyond’ caught my eye in a book store as the cover page boasted about it being the Pulitzer Winner in 2000. This book is a collection of 9 different stories of Indian people living abroad. Each story portrays a different picture of how these Indians who have been born and brought up in India with orthodox traditions and values, struggle to survive on a land several thousand miles away from their homeland. These stories tell us the maladies of the traditionally brought up Indians survive in America, which is completely a new, independent and unpredictable world. It is ‘maladies’ because, the stories bring out the difficulties faced by cultured Indians who are kind of confused when they encounter the new modern world. Being an Indian, you can easily connect with these characters in each of the nine stories. Be it Shobha’s decision to leave her husband, or Mr. Pirzada’s desperate attempt to locate his family during the post partition chaos or Mrs. Sen trying to adjust in the new American city and her nervous attempt to drive a car on the main road, or Mrs. Das’s secret extra marital affair; each story reveals a stinging truth. The truth is that many for many Indians who live in America are left confused about where their loyalty should lie. It proves the existence of the cross-culture conflicts.Jhumpa’s style of writing and flawless prose is remarkable. But it can’t beat the fact thaat the stories become a bit boring and progresses at a very slow pace. Though I could connect to all the stories, I could not understand what did the author try to say through the seventh story ’The Blessed House’. I feel it started off well I could not understand what the malady in it was, plus it ended abruptly. Overall the book is nice, especially the first four stories, but then it becomes dull and slow. Hats off to Jhumpa’s style of writing, exquisite language and phenomenal prose. But I still have my doubts about whether it was worth the Pulitzer!

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3 of 4 users found this review helpful.
★★★★★
★★★★★
05 January 14
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Disappointing, sorry!

Interpreter of Maladies, though a winner of many awards, was a complete waste of time for me. The stories are too lengthy. The plots don’t make any sense and are essay-like with too much description. I found the author ‘beating around the bush’ at many points. Out of nine, I liked only two stories - The Treatment of Bibi Haldar and The Third and Final Continent. I found them sensible and absorbing. I utterly hated reading the story, Interpreter of Maladies, from which the book itself gets its name. It’s a silly and strange storyline.

So sorry!

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★★★★★
★★★★★
24 October 11
first to review
Engrossing and well written.

Well with a Pulitzer Prize under its belt Lahiris tales are wonderfully written and engrossing. Most of the stories deal with Boston Bengalis but even the two tales written about native Indians are well written. All the stories are clear and concise and grapple with emotions which form the basis of everyday life. Loss, fear, suspicion,love, lust, detachment, patriotism and many such emotions are wonderfully delineated by the author so much so you can envisage the characters and the plot when you close your eyes.

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★★★★★
★★★★★
27 July 13
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Stories, tales and beyond...

Sometimes we come across stories that set a complete landmark for a particular genre. Jumpa Lahiri is one such author who weaves magic through her literary style and tone, no matter how simple, but still unpredictable,leaving you stunned while you are still in the backdrop of simplicity: she has this unique ability to give you a hunch in the middle of the,story, while always choosing a characteristic low key ending, which indubitably leaves a lasting feeling.. A must read..

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★★★★★
★★★★★
12 June 12
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9 painful maladies

Collection of 9 stories, each depicting a different pain, and it becomes difficult to tell that which pain was the most difficult to bear.

I read all 9 stories in 9 days, one on each day, so as to absorb each story fully one by one. The detailed description provided by Jhumpa takes you into the lives of the characters and enables you to feel the grief from within. My personal favorite is "A temporary Matter".

She truly is an Interpreter of Maladies!!!!

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Most Recent Reviews

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★★★★★
★★★★★
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Gripping short stories!

To make short stories with such a gripping plot is a daunting task in itself, a task that Jhumpa Lahiri seems to have done with...

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23 April 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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Amazingly Good

This a very good collection of short stories. There is nothing fancy about any of them. But it is wonderfully written and once...

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28 March 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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Expressive.

The writer too well described human feelings .I'm glad have read this book. Looking forward to read more works of Jhumpa lahiri.

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05 March 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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Intimate and heart touching

The book comprises of short stories and each one is distinction in itself...conveys more than can be expressed....i felt touche...

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04 March 14
★★★★★
★★★★★
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JHUMPA LAHIRI MADE ME A READER FROM A NON-READER

I am a very impulsive person, cant read a book if it is too long..lose interest completely..but the intricate detailing with wo...

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14 February 14
    Book: Interpreter of Maladies: Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond by Jhumpa Lahiri
    ISBN Number: 817223502X, 9788172235024, 978-8172235024

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