Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri [Book Review]

Interpreter of Maladies cover

Title : Interpreter of Maladies

Author : Jhumpa Lahiri

ISBN : 9780618101368

Publisher : Harper Collins India

Genre : Short Stories

Pages : 198

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars



A collection of 9 short stories, most of which are about NRIs, which will make your mind go on a bumpy ride while you sit back and can’t help yourself but applaud the author for the life and surrealism she has put in each story.

A young couple in an almost broken marriage get a chance to talk to each other due to power failure. What follows is a series of confessions which will change their future.

A Bangladeshi socializes with an Indian family every evening in the distant land of America while the child in the family can’t see what constitutes the ‘border’ which makes them different from him.

A driver cum interpreter befriends an American woman while she is on a trip to India with her family and gets to know an astonishing révélation.
An old woman refugee from Bangladesh, who was apparently rich there, seeks companionship and recignition while sweeping the stairs of an apartment in Calcutta.

A young Midwestern woman is caught in an affair with a married Bengali man which is leading her to nowhere before she spends time with a 8 year old kid which forces her to rethink what makes her ‘sexy’.

A simpleton married Bengali woman in America, for whom learning how to drive is a must if she wants to continue the job of a babysitter, but it’s not that easy as it seems to be.

A young couple buys a new house in Boston only to find many christian religious symbols and idols which fascinates the childish young wife while the husband struggles to accept her love and attachment for the alien religious assets.

An epileptic 30-approaching orphan girl who marriage can cure her. But her fate, which doesn’t help her in the quest for companionship, does something unexpected yet disgusting, which finally cures her.

A young Indian in Massachssets rent a small room for 6 weeks but that time with the 103 years old lady makes him for compassionate, empathetic and thankful for the years to come.

Ms. Lahiri has an eye for detail, for materialistic things and the environment around as well as for the myriad of thoughts, emotions, peace, empathy and yearnings which surrounds and entangles the characters in the stories.

Her stories seem to be explicitly woven together and transcend the cultural and ethnic aspect of things, anybody can relate to. Through these stories, Lahiri makes ordinary people seem extraordinary. These are people who lead simple lives, yet see it as special.

She writes about India and Indian heritage. She writes about its culture, beliefs, traditions and the pain of missing India, experienced by Indian immigrants in American Universities.

Listed in the Amazon’s list of ‘100 Books to read in your lifetime’, you can’t afford to miss this wonderful collection. And if you are a Bengali and/or NRI, the stories will reverberate in your memory for a bit longer. Buy a copy from Amazon here


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