Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Interpreter of MaladiesPublished: 1999

Genre: fiction short stories

Length: 198 pages

Setting: various, depending on the story. Usually the Northeast U.S. or India, any time in the past 30 years

Interest: It is a Pulitzer Prize winner

Summary: The book is a series of short snippets about people’s lives. The main characters are all of Indian heritage living in modern times and trying to fit in with more or (usually) less success.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed this collection of stories, which was nice since I so rarely read short fiction. Lahiri was able to put me into the lives of people from a much different background and allow me to see some of their motivations and failings. The first half of the collection we see the central characters drawing closer together, only for some event (whether internal or external, intentional or not) to push them apart. It was only in the last couple of stories that the events succeeded in drawing people together.

I realized why I don’t like to read short fiction (even reading comics has the same problem), but I do like to listen to it. When I’m done reading a story, there’s a sharp break from the next story that would best be served by putting the book down and letting it rest before starting the next story. However, I much prefer to just sit down and read and have the length of reading be determined by my interest/amount of time available, not by the length of the story. When I’m listening to stories, there’s only one available at a time, so there’s a more natural break before the next story arrives. I just prefer my reading to be long form.

Title comes from: The title of the book is the title of one of the short stories. In that story, the central character’s main job is as an interpreter at a doctor’s office.

Reading challenges fulfilled: 40/100 in the Read-a-Latte Challenge, 6/12 in the Award Winning Book Challenge


1 Comment

Filed under Book review

One response to “Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

  1. Natalienne, I’ve enjoyed the Indian authors I have read in the past. This collection of short stories sounds interesting. Thanks for highlighting it.

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