Nicole's Reviews > Interpreter of Maladies

Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
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's review
Feb 22, 2009

really liked it
Read in March, 2009

Lahiri does some amazing stuff in this group of stories. She returns again and again to images of displacement, however temporary they may be, and the changing boundaries of maps both literal and personal. The writing here is graceful - it's easy to let it pick you up and just carry you along for a lovely ride. I also appreciate that her stories manage to be compelling without often relying on wildly desperate characters to tell them... she creates an overall quiet and observant group of people who draw us in and hold us with whispers and the motions of an ordinary day rather than with screams and outlandish gestures.

By the end of the book, however, I do begin to wonder if these characters will transition at some point from their roles as observers to something more involved in the world around them. They dine together, babysit each others' children, date and marry, tour marginally familiar cities, yet somehow maintain a carefully calculated distance from each other. Twinkle in "This Blessed House" may be the only character for whom this distance does not exist - she observes the world in a different way than the other characters here, as though every surprise it holds was concocted especially for her, and she throws herself into it with an enthusiasm bordering on giddiness. I wonder how others in these stories would look, speak, move, outside of their carefully constructed protective shells. Of course, if they weren't such interesting and well-rendered characters to begin with, I wouldn't still be curious about them beyond the pages on which they exist. Beautiful stories, highly recommended.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Christopher I loved this book!

message 2: by Sandra (new)

Sandra me too!

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