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August 31, 2012 / subramanyam

Interpreter of Maladies

          Short story, this small little thing actually fascinates me. It fascinates me more than a novel.  It’s a like a double-edged knife that can make or break a writer. It offers both opportunity and a hidden threat. For example in this speed age a short story definitely guarantees audience and scores brownies over a novel, however the hidden danger here is it offers a limited space for the author to drive his point home. Again, if the writer refrains from being judgemental and leaves the story open-ended, the risk is even more because the story might be junked as a dud.

          I somehow like these open ended stories and love the authors who take these risks. Out of the few outstanding

Interpreter of Maladies

 short story authors I ever read, I hold Jhumpa Lahiri in very high esteem. I have already spoken about Jhumpa Lahiri and the subjects she speaks about in the previous post. Here, in this one, I wish to speak about the better of the two books I read from her. 

          Interpreter of Maladies is a collection of short stories which won Jhumpa Lahiri the coveted Pulitzer prize. So I speaking about this book would be like showing the sun with the help of a candle. Still I write this because I feel like writing and telling about a wonderful book I read. As telling about every story would prolong the review, I would speak about the ones that left a permanent impression on me.

          The book opens with a story “A Temporary Matter”  a story which speaks about a relationship that’s in a bad shape and is heading south. The man and the lady who are second generation American immigrants get a notice that there would be power outage in their place for the next few days. Both of them wish to discuss the dark secrets they have keeping from each other in the darkness thus created. What happens then and how the story proceeds there after form the story. The way the story is narrated and the way it’s ended are just fantabulous. A perfect opening to the book. Can’t say more can’t say less.

          Then we have the stories “The Blessed house” and “Sexy” which again are set the pace for the masterpiece “Interpreter of Maladies”.  One of the best stories I read about the seeming happy but unhappy families. Each of the character’s in the story have a short coming, none of them view the world correctly. How, Mr. Kapasi who is the interpreter of maladies uses his experience to cure another malady was wonderfully portrayed. The stories that follow “The Real Durwan”, “Mrs.Sen ” and the last story “The Third Final Continent”  are simply superb. The last story ends on a highly optimistic and positive note and I loved the Mrs.Croft character in that story.

          Food, is a common thing in almost all the stories of Jhumpa Lahiri.  It some how tells the mood of the story to the user, fantastic I should say. I like the way she presents the story and the way the projects the discomfort felt by person.  While reading this book, I had a strange feeling.  Though on the face of it we see that there is not connection between the stories, I saw an underlying invisible thread that was running through all of them, somewhat like the invisible thread that holds the flowers together in garland.

          Do read the book when you have time, Chances are high that you might not put the book down once you pick it.

Happy Reading

(Read these books some time back, happened to revisit recently , thought I ‘ll share my thoughts that’s it)


Leave a Comment
  1. Neil / Sep 8 2013 11:12 pm

    Great review. I also made one, by the way! Hope you can check it if you have time. 🙂 Best wishes for your literary flame!


    • subramanyam / Sep 9 2013 9:27 pm

      Hi Neil , happy that you liked it. I read your review it was awesome. Thanks for being here and reading the stuff. Thank you .



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