Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
My rating: 3 of 5 stars⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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I was hesitant about reading another book by Jhumpa Lahiri. I had bitter memories from reading the book – The Namesake. I did not like her style, narrative, nor care for the story.
But this anthology changed it. It made me rethink all that I knew about NRIs. Interpreter of Maladies is a book that is filled with slices of life – Indians who are misfits; Indians whose lives are drastically altered by life’s vicissitudes.
The central theme here is realization and redemption.
Shukumar and Shoba realize their grief…they mourn for their baby; Mrs. Sen realizes that she can be assertive and self-reliant too; in The Third and Final Continent, the narrator realizes that love doesn’t happen in a day.
The Interpreter of Maladies, is itself one of the short stories. It is about the tour guide who is also a doctor’s assistant and translator. His infatuation with a married foreigner and subsequent shock when she opens up to him about her infidelity is the simple story layered with meanings.
I sometimes wondered what made her write such stories. She threw new light on some of the usual things and people. The stories are very real and have heart and soul in them.I discerned a pattern in the latter half of the book – all Indians invariable suffered and then some more. In the end, the stories got more and more weird and had some details I’d have liked censored.
It was a collection of heartwarming fireplace stories, told in first hand. It was simple and straightforward. It had folks from all walks of life and appeals to all audiences.