Interpreter of Maladies. A book by Jhumpa Lahiri, although I read this book sometime back and kept thinking of posting a review, it didn’t actually happen. Thanks to Write Tribe for giving this prompt about writing reviews and this was my instant choice.
This book found space in one of my most favourite books and made me an ardent fan of the compelling writing of this amazing writer. Jhumpa Lahiri possesses a magical quality of weaving tales which binds the readers, so artfully that the reader longs for the narrative beyond the ‘what happens next’ approach. This is a collection of short stories with each story such a scintillating prose, which evokes images and feelings tapping into an overarching humanism. Interpreter of Maladies, majorly a diasporic fiction, is articulated between the expected and unexpected which makes an impact through spot-on, detailed observations laced with humour and irony. It is the indelible writing style of the author which struck the cord with me. Meandered along the sharply outlined and varied characters, the simple and glinting prose presents a refreshingly unsentimental approach to the plot. In her writing, environment and food played key roles in the story line. She derives metaphor from them and the partition which is in the background captures the cardinal emotions and makes them play a significant role. The writer has beautifully divided the characters against the others and also within themselves. The way Jhumpa Lahiri has sashayed the elaborate reflection of life with a perfect eye for nuances and ear for irony, it makes the readers glued to the book asking for ‘more and more’. Her writing with an eye for detailing and impersonal comparison makes her a dazzling storyteller and delivers distinctive lessons for budding creative writers.
So as this book is an anthology, speaking about each story won’t be possible so I will restrict to speak about my favourite story which also happens to be the opening story of the collection, A temporary matter. This is an engaging story of a couple whose marriage has gone sour after the death of their unborn child. The darkness in their life is symbolized by the power cut in their area, forces them to enter into conversation which is about accepting few unspoken truths about their individual life. The forced darkness in their life gives them the required space to clear out the matters of disputes and other minor matters of life and helps them to bring their dying relationship back to life. The lead characters Shoba and Shukumar have their own share of secrets to share. In an almost duping end, when Shukumar admits that he was there to see their dead child and reveals that it was a baby boy, Shoba faces the truth which had become the root cause of their parting ways.
The story is a masterpiece and a must read for all book lovers with a literature bend. In fact, as you read through the stories one will appear to be bettering the previous one. Pick up this book if you have not on my recommendation.