Interpreter of Maladies
I’m not really a short story person. I don’t seek them out, and I don’t tend to enjoy them, in no small part because the story itself and the characters often feel undeveloped to me. But every now and again, I’ll pick up a collection and try not to become disinterested after the first two stories.
In this case, I’d read Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake and enjoyed it quite a bit, so I thought I’d really make myself attempt to read her short stories, especially because of their acclaim. Additionally, her most recent collection is on my wishlist, but there was no way I was going to allow myself to purchase that without having read her first collection, which has been on my shelf for the past year. Oh, yeah, and it won a Pulitzer.
The Interpreter of Maladies surprised me, not because of the quality of writing, but because I actually stuck with it, which is a testament to Lahiri. Her writing is lyrical, with flowing dialogue and subtle depth underneath the action, much of which is day-to-day. She captures the emotions of displacement, loneliness and cultural confusion/longing for the familiar well. It’s easy to see why this collection caught so many people’s attention and won its award, and I’ll be really interested to see how her style has developed in her second collection.