INTERPRETER OF MALADIES by Jhumpa Lahiri(1999): A Review

This lovely collection of short stories by the author of The Namesake (I had seen the movie.) and The Lowland (a novel I greatly admired) was Lahiri’s “first book.” Maladies won the Pulitzer in 2000, and snippets of the stories in this volume had appeared in The New Yorker, so they sounded familiar, and I kept asking myself, “Have I already read this book”? The paperback appeared in my Little Free Library last month, and I have used it as a pick up and put down book to read in-between grading papers.

I couldn’t pick a favorite story if I had to. Some stories deal with husband-wife relationships with some couples young and newly married and others elderly and still in love or at least putting up with each other. LOL Most of the stories deal in some way with the sweeper of the property where they all live, which ties the stories together. A critic described the stories as “[the] emotional journeys of [Lahiri’s] characters seeking love” across several generations, different backgrounds, varied ethnicities and cultures.

The author’s style of writing is hers alone as she writes with a gentle, unassuming voice, especially demonstrated   in dealing with the character of Mr. Kapsi in the namesake story, “The Interpreter of Maladies.”

I highly recommend this book.

FIRST LINE FRIDAYS

I am just back from a trip to Half-Price Books. Let me grab the first book off my pile of purchases and copy the first line. It is from Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss:

All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths. Briefly above the vapor, Kanchenjunga was a far peak whittled out of ice, gathering the last of the light, a plume of snow blown high by the winds at its summit.”

What description! I can hardly wait to begin this one.