Lynn's Reviews > Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
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's review
Oct 19, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: kindle
Read in December, 2011

I picked this up several years ago and just finished re-reading it. Short stories are a format that tend to frustrate me, so I don't read a lot of them. I was originally drawn to this title because so much praise had been heaped upon it. The problem I have with short stories is often they just don't seem to go anywhere, they are just a vignette of life, but I require more substance. Or they seem to just try too hard to end ironically or with a twist so unbelievable it cheapens the experience of reading them. Perhaps worst of all is when there is the rare one you really love, and then you want an entire book devoted to the story and not just a few dozen pages.

Lahiri's collection is beautifully written, soulful, and often tinged with wistfulness or sadness, though they don't come off being overwhelmingly melancholy. The portraits she paints are believable, each character is unique and possesses their own voice. That said, I personally can't say I find the characters memorable because the book didn't seem familiar to me at all at a second reading. I had forgotten basically all of it. Maybe that's another problem I have with short stories, by the time I start to get into a character enough, the story ends and it's on to the next one.

I am giving this three stars, though anyone curious about reading this should realize that for me, three stars on a book of short stories is actually pretty good praise.

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