Review: Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

   Title: Interpreter of Maladies
Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Publisher: Mariner Books

June 1, 1999

I purchased this book.

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I love fiction that teaches me something, and Interpreter of Maladies showed me just how little I know about India. Through Jhumpa Lahiri’s characters I learned about the Partition of India, arranged marriages and matchmakers, that the old caste system lingers on in society, that Hindu families have rice ceremonies for their babies, and so on. I was constantly pausing to Google something, to find out more.

These short stories exude the richness of a variety of cultures and customs native to India, but also portray how quickly those traditions can change after emigration. The parents in the title story are second-generation immigrants, but seem as far removed from their parents’ culture as one could possibly get.

Lahiri has given us nine stylistically similar stories, written with lovely prose, which are representative of the diverse experiences among Indians and Indian Americans.