Since the release of Interpreter of Maladies, Jhumpa Lahiri has won almost every award bestowed on a first book of fiction. The nine stories in this stunning debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.
With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. A blackout forces a young Indian American couple to make confessions that unravel their tattered domestic peace. An Indian American girl recognizes her cultural identity during a Halloween celebration while the Pakistani civil war rages on television in the background. A latchkey kid with a single working mother finds affinity with a woman from Calcutta who, among other things, is struggling to learn to drive. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.
Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, these stories speak with passion and wisdom to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story, Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and a baffling new world. Interpreter of Maladies introduces "a wonderful new voice in American fiction. Jhumpa Lahiri is a sensitive chronicler of the immigrant experience. Interpreter of Maladies is a wise and sophisticated collection" (Bharati Mukherjee).
The experience of being foreign and the need for connection both mark Lahiri's outstanding debut collection of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies, in which intimacy is often the odd consequences of her character's admitting how distant they have become, or always were.