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Interpreter of Maladies Paperback – 12 May 2000
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‘Lahiri has an extraordinary voice’
‘Jhumpa Lahiri is the kind of writer who makes you want to grab the next person you see and say
She’s a dazzling storyteller with a distinctive voice, an eye for nuance, an ear for irony. She is one of the finest short story writers I’ve read.’
‘Jhumpa Lahiri’s strong, subtle short story collection is a debut to relish.’
About the Author
- Publisher : 4th Estate GB (12 May 2000)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0006551793
- Dimensions : 22.86 x 15.24 x 3.18 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 18,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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I like her lack of sentimentality - she neither judges nor makes excuses for her characters. She takes us on a journey from the self inflicted misery of her characters to later stories where her characters get it together.
Her writing is fluid like an essay but without the cold smart ass intellectuality that haunts many “literary” novels.
She has a gift to make the ordinary extraordinary.
Now for a few splashes of vinegar. The opening stories are far too long and my attention wandered. Maybe her editor asked her to pad it out.
Some of her description of clothes were too detailed and bordered on the tedious. Clothes descriptions should be enough to fit the character.
I like the descriptions of food - they added to the ambience and were appropriate.
Finally her use of rhetoric is very effective and writers should learn those valuable tools.
So an excellent read and a masterclass in how to craft a short story.
The ruthlessly economical language, overall, does risk creating the impression of cold detachment. Jhumpa Lahiri lists the great Alice Munro among her literary heroes and the influence is easy to detect. I for one happen to love Munro therefore liked Lahiri very much indeed.
And it's true, the book has the faults all short stories collections usually suffer from: read in isolation, each story is interesting, even startling. Each story is also masterfully complete and left me satisfied with the amount of detail about each character, and with the ending. But as a whole book, the stories become repetitive. I quickly found the characters to resemble each other throughout, and that I had read the same story too many times, in this book and elsewhere. The affair between a young woman and an older, married man has been done to death, surely, and so has the young or not so young couple falling out of love. Furthermore, here, unfortunately, the unrelenting stylistic simplicity (the very thing which, for me, defines great writing) ends up feeling a little like dullness, and the author's elegant objectivity could push the reader into feeling disengaged and therefore uninterested.
'Interpreter of Maladies' certainly cannot be described as unputdownable; in fact, it is best to put the book down after one, maximum two stories, and come back to it much later. That being said, there are a few stories to which I shall return with delight, for sure.
Her style is subtle and spare but lyrical and unique. A wonderful find and glad I read it