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Interpreter Of Maladies is an award-winning compilation of short stories about the identity struggles of Indian Americans.
Summary Of The Book
Interpreter Of Maladies is Jhumpa Lahiri’s collection of nine short stories. It explores various aspects of the identity crises that plague Indians and Indian Americans, trapped as they are between a culture they have inherited and a culture they have embraced.
The first short story, titled A Temporary Matter, explores the relationship between Shobha and Shukumar, a husband-wife duo. Their stillborn child is the trigger that sends their relationship into a downward spiral. As devastating secrets spill out over the subsequent days, their marriage begins to disintegrate rapidly.
Another short story, The Interpreter of Maladies, presents the story of Mr. and Mrs. Das, an Indian American couple on a visit to India. Their tour guide, Mr. Kapasi, begins to develop a romantic interest in Mrs. Das. When he expresses his feelings to her, Mrs. Das is forced to make a few unexpected revelations of her own. The title of the book has been named after this short story.
The Real Durwan, another short story from the collection, tells the story of Boori Ma, an old stair-sweeper (durwan) who works in an old brick building. Every day, she sweeps the stairs in the building and in return, she is allowed to live on the roof of the building. While she sweeps, she narrates compelling stories from her past. As globalization increases, the members of the community, such as Boori Ma, are sidelined and instead, the residents become progressively obsessed with the material quality of the building. This story offers a glimpse into the effects of globalization in India.
The lives of the characters in all the stories have been presented and analyzed using the theme of food, a seemingly unusual theme to explore the subject of identity crisis.
Interpreter Of Maladies was published in 1999 by Houghton Mifflin. It received positive reviews. It went on to win both the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Pultizer Prize for Fiction in 2000. As of August 2012, the book has sold more than fifteen million copies worldwide. This edition of the book is a 1999 reprint by Harper Collins.
About Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri is an American author of Indian origin.
Her written works include The Interpreter Of Maladies, The Namesake, and Unaccustomed Earth.
Her writing highlights the identity struggles of her characters who are often Indian immigrants to America. It is characterized by the use of simple language, and often draws from her life experiences as well as those of her friends, family, acquaintances, and fellow community members. Lahiri’s writing has won her several awards, including a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (2000).
Lahiri was born as Nilanjana Sudeshna Lahiri on July 11, 1967, in London, England. She attended the South Kingstown High School, Rhode island. She went on to graduate with a B.A. in English Literature from Barnard College. She holds multiple postgraduate degrees from Boston University, an M.A. in English, an M.A. in Comparative Literature, an M.F.A. in Creative Writing, and a Ph.D in Renaissance Studies. Lahiri has taught at the Rhode Island School of Design and at the Boston University. She is married to Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush and the couple has two children, Noor and Octavio. She lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn with her family.
|Publisher||Harper Collins Publishers|
|Number of Pages||208 Pages|
|Awards||Pulitzer Prize Winner|
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!
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.
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!!!!
Certainly winner of Pulitzer Prize for her work, Lahiri has needled a number of emotions in a single garland of "Interpreter of Maladies". Each story is unique and original as a personal experience of writer or a thought of creativity. A good work to read to understand Lahiri's work of fiction.
Short stories are bound to keep you glued to book. I finished the book in one go. Simple language. Depiction is awesome. at times you are reminded od your good old days.I have bought it for my book collection. Good book to read and keep a copy for leisure time.