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Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of Maladies (1999)

by Jhumpa Lahiri

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (176)  Catalan (3)  German (1)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (183)
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These stories are jewels of maudlin storytelling that transform the everyday lives of people in India (and immigrants to England and the USA) into something resembling myths. Many of them deal with marital friction and/or lost love. Lahiri has a lot of insight and a lot of her characters are embittered/cynical. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I very rarely read short stories. This one I read on a recommendation. Wonderful wonderful read. Jhumpa Lahiri is an unbelievably good writer. Highly recommend this book. (On loan from Cindy.) ( )
  cjservis | Jan 17, 2016 |
A wonderful collection of short stories. I normally avoid short stories and I'm glad I didn't avoid this book. I can see why it won awards.

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  i.should.b.reading | Jan 15, 2016 |
Interpreter of Maladies was a collection of short stories dealing with Indian characters. Many of the protagonists are Indians who have immigrated to the United States, but not all of them took place outside India. In general I enjoy short story collections, lately though many of the stories I have been reading seem to end abruptly or left me feeling confused - this collection was a welcome relief from that trend. All of the characters are well developed and all of the stories felt like they communicated the author's point to me. Although I could easily read a novel about many of these characters, I was satisfied with story presented. Lahiri gives the reader a glimpse into Indian culture while at the same time making the characters reactions and feelings easy to relate to. While I appreciated the differences in their culture and my own, I was left with a feeling that despite these differences people are the same deep down inside - both the positive and negative aspects of humanity. I will definitely read more of Lahiri's work in the future. ( )
  Cora-R | Jan 13, 2016 |
A 2000 Pulitzer Prize winner and a remarkable achievement for a debut publishing of short stories. Lahiri was born in London and was brought up in Rhode Island, but she's of Bengali heritage. A very diverse background I'm sure helped her to pen this remarkable collection of short stories. I was expecting these stories to be well-written and creative. I wasn't expecting them to be so deceptively simple but so poignant, warm and beautiful. Everyday living comes alive with her pen. These stories touch on so many aspects of human life - falling in and out of love, being adrift as a foreigner in a strange land, everyday living such as marriage and dying, and the effects of civil war on the ordinary person. Each story is a little jewel in its own right, and each story will make you slow down, stop and reflect about what you've just read. Then, with great anticipation, you move onto the next one and do it all over again. ( )
  Romonko | Jan 11, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 176 (next | show all)
In this accomplished collection of stories, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the lives of people on two continents -- North America and India -- and in doing so announces herself as a wonderfully distinctive new voice. Indeed, Ms. Lahiri's prose is so eloquent and assured that the reader easily forgets that ''Interpreter of Maladies'' is a young writer's first book.

» Add other authors (5 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Jhumpa Lahiriprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cooley, StevenCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dahlström, EvaForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Emeis, MarijkeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Overholtzer, RobertDesignersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sjöstrand, EvaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents and for my sister
First words
The notice informed them that it was a temporary matter: for five days their electricity would be cut off for one hour, beginning at eight P.M.
While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and I am certainly not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.
As stunned as I was, I knew what I had to say. With no hesitation at all, I cried out, "Splendid!"
In fact, the only thing that appeared three-dimensional about Boori Ma was her voice: brittle with sorrows, as tart as curds, and shrill enough to grate meat from a coconut.
He wondered if Mr. and Mrs. Das were a bad match, just as he and his wife were. Perhapts they, too, had little in common apart from three children and a decade of their lives. The signs he recognized from his own marriage were there--the bickering, the indifference, the protracted silences.
In its own way this correspondence would fulfill his dream, of serving as an interpreter between nations.
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A Temporary Matter -- When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine -- Interpreter of Maladies -- A Real Durwan -- Sexy -- This Blessed House -- The Treatment of Bibi Haldar -- The Third and Final Continent
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 039592720X, Paperback)

Mr. Kapasi, the protagonist of Jhumpa Lahiri's title story, would certainly have his work cut out for him if he were forced to interpret the maladies of all the characters in this eloquent debut collection. Take, for example, Shoba and Shukumar, the young couple in "A Temporary Matter" whose marriage is crumbling in the wake of a stillborn child. Or Miranda in "Sexy," who is involved in a hopeless affair with a married man. But Mr. Kapasi has problems enough of his own; in addition to his regular job working as an interpreter for a doctor who does not speak his patients' language, he also drives tourists to local sites of interest. His fare on this particular day is Mr. and Mrs. Das--first-generation Americans of Indian descent--and their children. During the course of the afternoon, Mr. Kapasi becomes enamored of Mrs. Das and then becomes her unwilling confidant when she reads too much into his profession. "I told you because of your talents," she informs him after divulging a startling secret.
I'm tired of feeling so terrible all the time. Eight years, Mr. Kapasi, I've been in pain eight years. I was hoping you could help me feel better; say the right thing. Suggest some kind of remedy.
Of course, Mr. Kapasi has no cure for what ails Mrs. Das--or himself. Lahiri's subtle, bittersweet ending is characteristic of the collection as a whole. Some of these nine tales are set in India, others in the United States, and most concern characters of Indian heritage. Yet the situations Lahiri's people face, from unhappy marriages to civil war, transcend ethnicity. As the narrator of the last story, "The Third and Final Continent," comments: "There are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept." In that single line Jhumpa Lahiri sums up a universal experience, one that applies to all who have grown up, left home, fallen in or out of love, and, above all, experienced what it means to be a foreigner, even within one's own family. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:53 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Stories about Indians in India and America. The story, A Temporary Matter, is on mixed marriage, Mrs. Sen's is on the adaptation of an immigrant to the U.S., and in the title story an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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