Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Since many days I haven’t reviewed a book because of a few personal commitments. However, I got a good opportunity to go through some very exuberant pieces. Some which really touched me and some that made me discover the rare gems of the literary world. With the most exceptional year 2020 coming to an end, what better way would be to review one such gem of a writer's work. The work is Jhumpa Lahiri’s Pulitzer Prize winning book “Interpreter of Maladies”. Having read two of her works recently, I found my newly kindled love for diasporic writings. Those writings are truly touching as it takes you back to the time you may have not been even born but somehow living the character’s life so intimately. Well ! That’s the case at least for me.
Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri is a collection of nine short stories with discrete writing style which dives the readers deep into the stories. All the stories are distinct in their own ways but follow a common theme of diaspora in them, Some stories are very suspicious while others are very easy going, The readers get a thorough joy ride with various emotions and plot lines. The stories also cover issues like adultery, religious riots, the after affects of partition etc. The Indian readers would understand the psychological background of the characters more clearly as they are aware of the history of India a little personally. However, the non Indian readers will surely enjoy the literary style of it and also the narrative style of it which shuffles mainly from Indian to America.
One of the stories which I liked the most was titled “The Third and Final Continent”. The story revolves around the protagonist who belonged to India but traveled three continents precisely Asia, Europe and North America to make a sustainable living. Finally, he settles down in the United States of America along with his wife, Mala with whom he had a typical arranged marriage but eventually found love. Later, they were blessed with a son. It tells the story of the protagonist which little struggles in life which he overcomes alone. There is an incident where he was living with an old landlady whom he discovers to be a century old later in the story and this changes his prospects towards her. Earlier he found her annoying in a way but knowing of the experiences she had in her life, he considers her more respectfully and grows an unknown bond with her. Such instances are so simple and blunt yet feel so attractive in its own way. Obviously, the credit goes to the style of the author. The beauty of two strangers getting married and falling in love with simple chores of life is a charm. What moved me about the story was not something very extraordinary but the simple life of a person quoted in a genuinely beautiful way.
Other stories of the book too are gripping and make the readers appreciate little things in life, something which 2020 taught us as well. So, for the joyous experience I had while reading it and for the sheer love of reading, I recommend this book wholeheartedly to all my fellow readers.
Happy Reading and a very Happy New Year !
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