Length: 198 pages
About: Stories in India and New England
Style: 1st & 3rd person
Where: US & India
When: 1960s - 1990s
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).