- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 319 KB
- Print Length: 209 pages
- Publisher: Fourth Estate (27 Mar. 2014)
- Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00I7JO14M
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer reviews: 792 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #34,274 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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"A writer of uncommon elegance and poise."--New York times "Dazzling writing, an easy-to-carry paperback format and a budget-respecting price tag of $12: Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies possesses these three qualities, making it my book of choice this summer every time someone asks for a recommendation...Simply put, Lahiri displays a remarkable maturity and ability to imagine other lives...[E]ach story offers something special. Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies will reward readers."--USA Today "[S]torytelling of surpassing kindness and skill."--The San Francisco Chronicle
"Jhumpa Lahiri is the kind of writer who makes you want to grab the next person you see and say, 'Read this!'"--Amy Tan
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The ruthlessly economical language, overall, does risk creating the impression of cold detachment. Jhumpa Lahiri lists the great Alice Munro among her literary heroes and the influence is easy to detect. I for one happen to love Munro therefore liked Lahiri very much indeed.
And it's true, the book has the faults all short stories collections usually suffer from: read in isolation, each story is interesting, even startling. Each story is also masterfully complete and left me satisfied with the amount of detail about each character, and with the ending. But as a whole book, the stories become repetitive. I quickly found the characters to resemble each other throughout, and that I had read the same story too many times, in this book and elsewhere. The affair between a young woman and an older, married man has been done to death, surely, and so has the young or not so young couple falling out of love. Furthermore, here, unfortunately, the unrelenting stylistic simplicity (the very thing which, for me, defines great writing) ends up feeling a little like dullness, and the author's elegant objectivity could push the reader into feeling disengaged and therefore uninterested.
'Interpreter of Maladies' certainly cannot be described as unputdownable; in fact, it is best to put the book down after one, maximum two stories, and come back to it much later. That being said, there are a few stories to which I shall return with delight, for sure.
Her style is subtle and spare but lyrical and unique. A wonderful find and glad I read it
Top international reviews
The book is a collection of 9 short stories, mostly about Bengali immigrants in the US from the Bengal area of India, around Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). Here’s a sample of some of the stories –
The title story is about a man who is an interpreter of native Indian languages for a doctor. He is also a tour guide for visitors to India. He tells this to a Bengali couple, visiting from the states. The wife, desperate for someone to confide in, thinks he is like a psychological counselor and pours out her secrets to him.
In “Mrs. Sen’s,” an eleven-year old boy learns the extent of the loneliness of a Bengali woman in Boston who desperately misses her own country and her large extended family in India.
“A Real Durwan” is one of two stories set back in India. A poor old woman, bent with age, has a job sweeping the stairwell in an apartment building. As improvements are made to the building the tenants decide they want a real concierge and toss her onto the street.
In “Sexy,” a young Bengali woman listens every day to her Bengali co-worker aghast at the infidelity of her cousin’s husband who has left his wife for a younger unmarried woman. Although she and the co-worker are best of friends, the Bengali woman can’t tell her that she herself is having an affair with a married man.
In “This Blessed House,” a young Bengali couple has just moved into a new home and they keep finding posters of Jesus behind closet doors, crosses, statues of Mary in the bushes and nativity scenes in nooks and corner.
Jhumpa Lahiri has weaved together stories of sadness yet has her readers leave feeling positive about her characters. Although short in length, each story is powerful from start to finish and has the readers desiring to know more about the characters' lives. A collection worthy of the Pulitzer, I look forward to reading more of Lahiri's work.
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.
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
The author has used simple English, so anybody with a basic understanding of the language can read the stories easily. Each story is real and alive. The depth her words create, the unspoken, unexpressed feelings and emotions brewed by seemingly commonplace words and sentences tantalise you and force you to think differently, confuse you when you try to take a stand, since everything is right yet wrong at the same time, and it is a heady infusion which can only be experienced and not described.
I would recommend this to anyone. Period. It teaches you a lot about life without you realising it.
Es überrascht bei ihrer eigenen Familiengeschichte nicht, dass sie ihre Inspiration fast ausschließlich aus dem "Kulturschock" bezieht, den indische Einwanderer in Amerika erleben (auch wenn sie selber als Tochter bengalischer Einwanderer in London geboren wurde). So ist auch der Titel der deutschen Ausgabe mit "Melancholie der Ankunft" zur Abwechslung mal gut gewählt, und die Ankunft sollte man nicht nur auf die neue Heimat, sondern auch auf neue Lebenssituationen beziehen, oft radikal neu, man denke nur an die von den Familien daheim ausgewählte Bräute, die sich nicht nur mit einem fremden Land, sondern auch mit einem ebenso fremden Mann arrangieren müssen, eine für uns selbstbestimmte Mitteleuropäer unvorstellbare, aber nach wie vor für Inder in Amerika typische Situation.
Es sind bei aller Kürze intensive, oft beklemmende Geschichten, mit stark gezeichneten Charakteren, stets an Wendepunkten ihres Lebens, und auf Happy Endings sollte man keinen allzu großen Wert legen. Es sind Geschichten in sehr unterschiedlichen Tonarten, von denen zwei, die ausschließlich in Kalkutta spielen und mit Amerika nichts zu tun haben, so aus dem Rahmen fallen, dass es fast überrascht, dass sie in dieser Sammlung auftauchen. Aber so bekommt der interessierte Leser noch ein paar kurze, nachdrückliche Impressionen vom täglichen Leben der kleinen Leute von Kalkutta.
The content without doubt will be good. It is a booker winning literature.
A couple of stories felt like they had similar backgrounds, but otherwise the book felt good to read.
Though it shows the challenges people face in a world different than theirs, I believe it doesn't have any such motivational/insightful message.