Thursday, July 29, 2010

Interpreter of Maladies

Pulitzer Prize winner in 2000, Jhumpa Lahiri is truly a great story teller. I have really enjoyed these short stories of Indian people in different places experiencing life and new cultures.

Other bloggers provide great reviews, like Chasing Bawa, Bookbath, and Anuradha Goyal. And google books has also posted segments of the book here. But for me, my love for these stories stems largely from my love and interest in the Indian people.

I have volunteered in a small school in the south of India a couple of times now, and I just love what I do there. I love working with the girls in the school and teaching them more about the world we live in. I think there's something about these short stories that I can relate to because of my experiences in India.

I enjoyed the story 'When Mr Pirzada came to dine' because, in this story, the author demonstrated the mixed hope for new life in a new place, and the distress and grief of leaving the place where family remains. Mr Pirzada found another immigrant Indian family to visit with and to remain connected with the culture he was most comfortable in. Mr Pirzada played a role in teaching the young girl in the house more about the place where her family came from. In the end, Mr Pirzada's returned to India to be with his family.

I also quite liked the last story ' The third and final continent'. the young man who moves from India, to the UK and then to the US, all the while supporting himself while he gets his education. He develops a connection with his elderly land lady, based on the respect you see in many Indian families for their elders. I think I liked this short story because it seemed like he was motivated for change and new things, but he didn't change all things to become 'American'. He remained Indian in his ways.

I found this a great read, just like I enjoyed Unaccustomed Earth.


JoAnn said...

I love Lahiri's writing. It's been a while since I read Interpreter of Maladies, but remembered Mr. Pirzada immediately. Unaccustomed Earth was one of my favorites last year. Hope she publishes another collectio soon!

Anonymous said...

Lahiri's prose is beautiful isn't it? I've been meaning to read Unaccustomed Earth since I read this book, but have been swamped with books. But then, keeping it a little longer will increase the anticipation.

A Bookish Way of Life said...

Lahiri is one of my favorite authors - her writing is just excellent! I'm so glad you enjoyed Interpreter of Maladies - its my favorite of her works. The first story, A Temporary Matter, is my favorite of the short stories - its heartbreaking and beautifully written.

Unknown said...

Have you read a book called A Fine Balance ? If you love reading about India and the culture you will enjoy it.