Spent part of the weekend re-reading Interpreter of Maladies; it's been so long since I read it, and allegedly I'll be talking to Jhumpa Lahiri in a couple of weeks (her new collection of stories, Unaccustomed Earth, comes out April 1). Now this isn't a surprise but: What a truly fine collection of stories.
Duh, Connie, you say.The book won the Pulitzer Prize. But it is shocking to remember this was Lahiri's first published work. And I believe I read it several years ago right after I finished Andrea Barrett's Servants of the Map, which had blown me away, and so while I really liked Interpreter I was distracted by the Barrett stories.
The title story is wonderful, but the one that still gets me is the collection's first story, A Temporary Matter, about a husband and wife enduring an hour of darkness each night while repairs are made to an electrical line in their neighborhood. It's heartbreaking. That's all I'm going to say. One's heart also breaks and expands over the young Indian woman having an affair with a married man in Sexy, and the young couple bickering over what to do with the Christian religious statues they keep finding in their new home in This Blessed House. I've always said my favorite Lahiri is her great novel The Namesake, but now I just don't know anymore.