Interpreter of Maladies
- Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
- Publisher: Mariner Books / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
- Published: June 1999
- ISBN-10: 039592720X
- ISBN-13: 9780395927205
- Format: Paperback
- Copyright: 1999
- Subject: FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
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A debut volume of stories imbued with sensual details of Indian culture, and that ranges from India to New England. The title story selected for both the O. Henry Award & The Best American Short Stories. Winner of the 2000 PulitzerPrize for fiction and the PEN/Hemingway Award. 198p.
India is an inescapable presence in this strong first collection's nine polished and resonant tales, most of which have appeared in The New Yorker and other publications. Lahiri, who was born in London and grew up in Rhode Island, offers stories that stress the complex mechanics of adjustment to new circumstances, relationships, and cultures. Sometimes they re narrated by outside observers like the flatmates of an excited (presumably epileptic) young woman cured by relations with men (in The Treatment of Bibi Haldar ); the preadolescent American schoolboy cared for at Mrs. Sen s, where the eponymous immigrant is tortured by the pressure of adapting to American ways; or, most compellingly, the Indian-American girl emotionally touched and subtly matured by the kindness her parents show to a Pakistani friend who fears for the safety of his family back home amid civil war ( When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine ). Richly detailed portrayals of young marriages dominate tales like that of an Indian emigrant's oddly fulfilling relationship with his landlady, a bellicose centenarian ( The Third and Final Continent ); This Blessed House, in which the wedge afflicting a young couple is widened when they discover Christian paraphernalia left behind by their home's former owners; and A Temporary Matter, which delicately traces how a pair of academics, continually mourning their stillborn baby, find in an exchange of confessions a renewal of their intimacy. Lahiri is equally skilled with more sophisticated plots, as in her title story's seriocomic disclosure of a middle-aged tour guide's self-delusive romance, or in the complexity of Sexy, about a young American woman who s fascinated not only by her married Bengali lover but by all other things Indian including the manner in which she is and isn t deflected from her passion by an afternoon with an Indian boy victimized by his own father's infidelity. Moving and authoritative pictures of culture shock and displaced identity. Copyright 1999 Kirkus Reviews
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