I finished this book a month ago but decided that I needed some time to sort out my thoughts and feelings before I write what I thought about it. Although, in the past, this kind of delaying often results to me forgetting some parts of the story and making it hard to come up with a decent review, with Interpreter of Maladies, this proved to be untrue.
Despite the length of time that had lapsed since I was done reading, the stories in this collection still stayed with me. They were all poignant and thought-provoking, I can’t help but sigh with contentment each time I am done with every story. The prose is very aptly described by the blurb on the cover – “of uncommon elegance and poise”.
There is both a sweetness and sadness in the writing of Jhumpa Lahiri. Her characters evoke a kind of sentimentality in me that I can’t help but just feel for them – maybe it is because her main protagonists are Indians and as an Asian I feel some affinity with them? I don’t know; all I know is that I feel some sort of connection with the characters in the stories. And I loved reading about India – its culture, history, traditions. It feels so close to home.
From among the 9 stories in this collection, my top 3 are as follows:
- A Temporary Matter. “Somehow without saying anything, it had turned into this. Into an exchange of confessions – the little ways they’d hurt or disappointed each other, and themselves.” (p. 18)
- Interpreter of Maladies. ‘He decided to begin with the most obvious question, to get to the heart of the matter and so he asked, “Is it really pain you feel, Mrs. Das, or is it guilt?”’(p.66)
- Sexy. ‘”How could you,” she’d ask, sobbing, “how could you love a woman you don’t even know?”’ (p.108)
Interpreter of Maladies is a very dear book and I’m glad I was able to take hold of this priceless collection. The stories here I will forever hold close to my heart. Truly, the Pulitzer is well deserved. I highly recommend this to anyone who loves well-thought out plots and elegant prose.
My copy: paperback from Booksale.
Recommended to me by Monique.