The interpreter of maladies

Posted by Divya at Thursday, July 23, 2009

By Jhumpa Lahiri

I began reading this collection of short stories to fill my hours in between chores; though by the time I ended it, I had realized that all the chores were pending and I had immensely underestimated the intensity of t he stories.

Lahiri crafts one tale after another, with depth, tinge of irony and open ended-ness, which render perfection to a short story. The stories are told in first, second and third person contexts, encompassing lives of Bengalis in America, Bengalis in India, first and second generation Bengalis. The story telling is simple and flows mellifluously from one page to next and suffices to get you involved in the characters and their lives without any effort.

The narrative circumscribes various nuances; the turmoil of the Bengal partition, the hardships of living life away from home-country, the paradox of relationships in and out of a marital bond, the incongruity of a mob are but a few. The cultural of Bengal is well depicted through the food, the traditions, the attires and attitudes, that you can almost smell the spices and experience the specter she creates.

However warm the stories, the aspect of centralizing the motif to Bengalis’ and Bengali immigrants’ lives lingers like the piquant after-taste of a heavily spiced curry for the reader. Having read Namesake, the author seems to be recycling what she knows best and wants to be part of. I wish Lahiri, keeps her writing style to deliver more books that are drifted away from the Bengal coast.

Enjoy the book with a hot masala chai on a lull evening; you won’t believe how therapeutic that can be!


PM on July 23, 2009 at 9:56 PM said...

major da ... will add it to by TBR pile. Dint like Namesame that much but looks like this is better

Divya on July 24, 2009 at 6:56 AM said...

Preeths, this one i liked better than namesake; though i dont want to read 'unaccustomed earth'. I can almost figure the same pattern of stories.

Pratima on July 30, 2009 at 8:29 AM said...

This is one of my all time favorite books. I loved this more than The Namesake! You should definitely read The Unaccustomed Earth (You can find my review on my blog). THough I agree, the theme of stories are pretty much the same (rich bengali NRI families), the stories are very different. Especially the trilogy "Hema and Kaushik" is just AMAZING!

Divya on July 31, 2009 at 7:27 AM said...

Pratima, In that case I will add unaccustomed earth to my reading list... I was scared of getting bored of the same theme and didnt want to stop liking Lahiri's writing! :)


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