Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri

Published first in the year 1999, Interpreter Of Maladies is a collection of nine short stories that revolve around the lives of Indian Americans, and their struggle to blend in with American culture.
The first story, A Temporary Matter, revolves around the crumbling relationship between an Indian couple, Shukumar and Shobha. 
Their relationship begins to disintegrate due to the passing away of their baby, which causes a change in Shobha’s personality and makes her aloof. 
With time, the distance between them increases, and they soon receive a notice about a power cut that would occur for one hour at night daily. 
Each day, they would spend that time talking about a number of dark secrets, which they never shared before, which got more, and more controversial, indicating the end of their marriage. 

The main story of this book, Interpreter of Maladies, is based on Mr. and Mrs. Das, who were NRIs visiting India. 
They meet Mr. Kapasi, who serves as their tour guide, and has a day job as well, which was that of an interpreter in a doctor’s clinic. 
Mrs. Das and Mr. Kapasi begin to feel a strong attraction towards each other, and she shares a highly personal secret with him about herself, which could place her marriage in jeopardy.

Another story in this book, Mrs. Sen’s, revolves around an 11 year old Eliot who begins to stay with Mrs. Sen, whose husband is a university professor. 
She spends her time with Eliot, telling him about her life in Calcutta, and how she terribly missed living there. 
One day, she drives to the market without her spouse and meets with an accident, after which Eliot stops living with Mrs. Sen.

Interpreters of Maladies has been greatly appreciated by readers worldwide, and fetched Lahiri the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. This book has sold more than 15 million copies across the globe.
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Goodreads Rating - 4.12 out of 5 ( 125,603 Ratings , 8174 Reviews  - As on September 03  2017)
My Rating  3 out of 5
My Comments:
I liked it. Nothing exceptional though. Her novel 'The Namesake" was better.

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