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.
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