Sunday, October 25, 2015

Staff Review: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

I love short stories. They are the perfect thing for a busy schedule. Short enough to read in a single sitting, but in the hands of a skilled writer still complex enough for character development and a satisfying plot arc. Jhumpa Lahiri is an incredibly skilled author of short stories, and she has the Pulitzer Prize to prove it.

The Interpreter of Maladies, her first collection of short stories, was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000, and it is one of the five books I'd take with me to a desert island.

Lahiri writes characters that feel so real to me as a reader, it's almost as if they are people I met once at an airport or a party. These are characters who feel out of place in their own lives, in homes they do not recognize. Many are immigrants in a foreign land, perhaps returning home after years abroad, or maybe they never left but have watched the world around them change into something unfamiliar.

Lahiri's second collection, Unaccustomed Earth, while still powerful, is somewhat less of a personal favorite. There's a stronger focus on the ties and changing pressures of family relationships, and three of the stories revisit two characters at different points in their lives. While I love how she explores similar themes in her story collections, I prefer the focus of her standalone pieces over the linked stories or her longer novels where I sometimes become lost in the details of her beautiful descriptions.

~Sarah, Adult Services

No comments:

Post a Comment