By Jhumpa Lahiri
All the discussion of Indian-American writer and Pulitzer Prize winning author Jhumpa Lahiri's go at the Man Booker Prize for The Lowlands got me down to reading the parts of her works that I had left out. With the latest novel being checked out for a few months in the library, and with The Namesake and Unaccustomed Earth in the bag, I decided to give her first work, Interpreter of Maladies, a chance. And I was not disappointed.
The best part about Lahiri's writing is that her stories often end abruptly. This might seem counter-intuitive, but only because we have gotten used to listening to tales with morals or some sort of conclusion. But her works leave a lot of room for the reader to think. There are stories, such as the cover story itself, that pick up a small thought in an ordinary person's mind and take them to a new level. That is where the beauty of the genre lies.
Interpreter of Maladies is not set in any particular period or even place, although Lahiri's old favourite of Cambridge, MA keeps recurring. In a way, many of the stories are perpetually topical, although some aspects, such as the exchange of long letters, may not be. But what matters is the emotion and it hits you without shocking you. For anyone who writes short stories, this is known to be a difficult feat. I would strongly recommend reading this book, although my favourite still remains Unaccustomed Earth.