Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Book reviews, Pullitzer, Booker, Costa and Children's Book reviews
Prize Winning Fiction
Prize Winning Fiction

2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction Winner

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri


Publisher: Flamingo

Length: 198 pages

About: Stories in India and New England

Style: 1st & 3rd person

Where: US & India

When: 1960s - 1990s



Publisher’s synopsis:

A couple exchange unprecedented confessions during nightly blackouts in their Boston apartment as they struggle to cope with a heartbreaking loss; a student arrives in new lodgings in a mystifying new land and, while he awaits the arrival of his arranged-marriage wife from Bengal, he finds his first bearings with the aid of the curious evening rituals that his centenarian landlady orchestrates; a schoolboy looks on while his childminder finds that the smallest dislocation can unbalance her new American life all too easily and send her spiralling into nostalgia for her homeland...Jhumpa Lahiri's prose is beautifully measured, subtle and sober, and she is a writer who leaves a lot unsaid, but this work is rich in observational detail, evocative of the yearnings of the exile (mostly Indians in Boston here), and full of emotional pull and reverberation. 



For the greater number of her twenty-nine years, Bibi Haldar suffered from an ailment that baffled family, friends, priests, palmists, spinsters, gem therapists, prohets and fools....At the suggestion of a blind Christian she was once taken by train to kiss the tombs of saints and martyrs.




Ms. Lahiri chronicles her characters' lives with both objectivity and compassion while charting the emotional temperature of their lives with tactile precision. She is a writer of uncommon elegance and poise, and with 'Interpreter of Maladies', she has made a precocious debut.

New York Times, Michiko Kakutani

Not so good:

IT is when Lahiri moves outside her Boston setting to assay India as the backdrop for stories that her grip on her material falters....the authenticity of their doomed encounter is undermined by stilted dialogue, elements of cliche and loaded symbolism exemplified by a gang of menacing monkeys. Set loose from her Boston moorings, Lahiri allows herself to wander rather too freely.

Frontline (India's National Magazine Vol 16 - Issue 21 Oct 9-22 1999


About the author

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and grew up in Rhode Island. She has traveled several times to India, where both her parents were born and raised, and where a number of her stories are set.


Lahiri received her B.A. from Barnard College; and from Boston University she has received an M.A. in English, and M.A. in Creative Writing, an M.A. in Comparative Studies in Literature and the Arts, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design and has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Lahiri's fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, Agni, Epoch, The Louisville Review, Harvard Review, Story Quarterly, and elsewhere. In addition to the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, she has received the PEN/Hemingway Award, the O. Henry Award, a Transatlantic Review award from the Henfield Foundation in 1993, and a fiction prize from The Louisville Review in 1997. She was also a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and was named one of the "20 best young fiction writers in America" in The New Yorker's summer 1999 fiction issue.


In 2001, Lahiri married Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, a journalist who was then Deputy Editor of TIME Latin America (and now Executive Editor of El Diario/La Prensa, New York's largest Spanish daily and America's fastest growing newspaper). Lahiri lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their two children, Octavio (b. 2002) and Noor (b. 2005).


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2016 Pulitzer Prize Winner

It's a massive day in arts and journalism because the 100th annual Pulitzer Prize winners were just announced, and there's a big surprise. 2015's best artistic and nonfiction writing across 21 categories were recognized during a ceremony Monday afternoon at Columbia University in New York City. The first Pulitzer Prize was awarded to Hebert Bayward Swope, a reporter for The New York World, in 1916. (And if you're as big a fan of Newsies as I am, that paper should ring a bell, but try to think of it more positively.)

The major prize for book nerds, the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction went to The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen (Grove Press), a legitimate surprise, if you've been paying attention to the book nerd and industry buzz. The feeling around the prize in the last few months would have you putting all your hard-earned cash down on A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara to take home the award, but that's why you should never gamble. Viet Thanh Nguyen is no less deserving, and moreover, it's his debut novel, which makes it such a wonderful win.

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