Interpreter of Maladies
By Jhumpa Lahiri
Completed May 18, 2009
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri? I feel like the last person in the book world who hasn’t read it – and I am not sure what I was waiting for. Interpreter of Maladies was beautiful, poignant and thought-provoking, full of stories and characters that I will remember for a long time.
This Pulitzer winner was a collection of short stories – all centered around “maladies” that affect humans, such as loneliness, homesickness and regret. Each story touches on one malady, brilliantly represented by characters of Indian origin (either living in India or the U.S.). The stories brought the reader through a full range of emotions – sometimes happiness, other times grief. This was no small feat, considering you get to know the characters in only a few pages. That’s a testament to the power of Lahiri’s writing. Each short story evoked an emotional and very human response.
Another reviewer commented that she wished each short story was a full novel. I couldn’t agree more. Interpreter of Maladies packed richness in every punch. I am not an avid reader of short stories – mostly because I want more after finishing the story – but I learned with this book that wanting more is a good thing. Without a doubt, Interpreter of Maladies left me wanting to read more by this talented young writer.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Interpreter of Maladies
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
Friday, May 1, 2009
I read the first Pulitzer Prize winner, His Family by Ernest Poole, for my first entry into this Pulitzer Project. I see that there have been a couple of very thorough reviews already. The novel is about a widower and his three adult daughters, who each seem to exemplify a "type" of woman of that time. The oldest daughter, Edith, is caught up in her own family. She'll do anything to protect her children and would never consider working outside her family.
Deborah, the middle daughter, probably represents the "new" woman of the time--she works at a school and has thousands of tenement children she is interested in. She is a quintessential do-gooder and probably was a socialist and a suffragist. The youngest daughter represents the pleasure principle. She loves fashion and travel; she marries, has an affair (as does her husband), divorces, and remarries.
The characters never really transcend the stereotypes. I can understand, however, that the Pulitzer Committee perceived this as a novel of ideas and of society.