Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies


Book - 1999
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Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In "A Temporary Matter," published in The New Yorker, a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. Lahiri writes with deft cultural insight reminiscent of Anita Desai and a nuanced depth that recalls Mavis Gallant. She is an important and powerful new voice.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin, 1999.
ISBN: 9780618101368
Characteristics: 198 p. ; 21 cm.


From Library Staff

Jhumpa Lahiri's debut novel about the disconnect between the Old World and the New; the first book in Lahiri's long, luminous career.

This short story collection, inspired by Lahiri’s own experiences as an Indian-American immigrant, touches on difficult subjects like grief and loneliness with all the delicacy in the world. The stories are often reflective, sometimes bittersweet, and will leave readers with that perfect not-quit... Read More »

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Dec 16, 2020

A must read book. Now I want to read the rest of her oeuvre

Gemini__Librarian Jul 21, 2020

Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies is an intriguing kaleidoscope into the lives of several citizens, some with Indian descent and several from abroad, who embark on their daily rituals involving that of labor, family relations, friendship, community and more, often in urbanized landscapes. Lahiri's short story format highlights these individuals' experiences in a short synopsis but emotionally potent way. From newly formed couples with marital strife to professionals facing existential conundrums, her award winning title demonstrates an underlying sense of humanity and dignity her characters face in the midst of life challenges. Her writing is eloquent, descriptive but not overly elaborate, and makes for a pleasant, introspective, appreciative read. She provides a voice to women and men equally alike and provides readers with a fresh take on literature showcasing the Indian American and American immigrant experience. - Review Written by Danielle

ArapahoeMaryA Aug 09, 2019

A collection of nine short stories - bittersweet and thought-provoking.

Jul 05, 2019

20th anniversary of this amazing book of stories!

Jul 03, 2019

I simply cannot praise this book enough! I generally dislike short stories because they do not get enough time to develop a plot or the character sketch in the details needed. This book changed my perception entirely! It is a collection of extremely well-written stories that have a general theme of first-generation abroad Indians and the kind of nostalgia your homeland embodies in you. I love how the stories literally start right from no where, like a normal day for the character, and end on a similar note. But in the short span of 8-9 pages, I cannot help marvel on the plot developed and the character sketch. When the stories end, you pause for a second and wonder what just really happened.. that it could end either way and it totally was up to you to decide. The emotions are so raw and blunt which she could deliver to the reader in so few a words!

I have recommended this book to every of my reading friends and there hasn't been a single disappointment! Thoroughly recommended!!

RogerDeBlanck Jul 24, 2018

The uniqueness of Lahiri's collection of stories resides in its acute examination of cultural identity and the relationships between cultures. She gives readers great insight into the lives of immigrants, both young and old, some of them couples and others on their own. The stories are varied in their settings, from Lahiri’s native India to her current home in America. The characters often face very personal choices that will define their ability to gain a sense of self. Lahiri is able to unearth the complex sources that bring about conflict and separation. She takes what appears subtle and finds deep-rooted issues that must be addressed in order to gain understanding. With her use of incredibly fluid prose, this is a powerful and engrossing set of stories.

Jun 24, 2018

A beautifully written, memorable collection of short stories. Highly recommended.

May 10, 2018

This early set of stories carries all the compact and poetic beauty of Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize-winning prose, with engaging human foibles enacted across three continents. Sadly, there is dysfunction, and family strife, and infidelity and other sexual misconduct, but most are balanced with sparks of vibrant human perseverance.

Mar 05, 2018

Nicely written, struck through my heart especially relating to how minority Americans visiting countries of similar ethnic backgrounds are viewed.

Sep 20, 2017

Little gems of short stories set in India and the northeastern United States.

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ArapahoeMaryA Aug 09, 2019

... a woman who had fallen out of love with her life.

Dec 26, 2013

"How about telling each other something we've never told before." (from A Temporary Matter)


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