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Interpreter of Maladies | [Jhumpa Lahiri]

Interpreter of Maladies

With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. The nine stories in this stunning debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.
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Publisher's Summary

Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2000

With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. The nine stories in this stunning debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.

A blackout forces a young Indian American couple to make confessions that unravel their tattered domestic peace. An Indian-American girl recognizes her cultural identity during a Halloween celebration while the Pakastani civil war rages on television in the background. A latchkey kid with a single working mother finds affinity with a woman from Calcutta. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.

Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, these stories speak with passion and wisdom to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story, Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and a baffling new world.

©2000 Jhumpa Lahiri; (P)2000 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"Moving and authoritative pictures of culture shock and displaced identity." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The crystalline writing in the nine stories of this Pulitzer Prize-winning debut collection dazzles. These sensitive explorations of the lives of Indian immigrants and expatriates touch on universal themes, making them at once specific and broad in their appeal. Narrator Matilda Novak's light voice is fine for stories written by a young woman, and the hint of melody in her reading is typical of Indian voices." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (548 )
5 star
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3.9 (326 )
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4.0 (320 )
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2 star
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Performance
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  •  
    AbqGal 05-26-15
    AbqGal 05-26-15 Member Since 2014
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    Story
    "Excellent"

    Excellent collection of stories. I was hooked from the start. Some tell of people who came over from India and are trying to adjust to life in America.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Stella 03-12-15
    Stella 03-12-15 Member Since 2013
    ratings
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    21
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    Story
    "Sheer joy"

    Delicacy of words. A master piece. I enjoyed the subtlety and fine fabric found in every man's daily life. Intrigued to read the author's another book Namesake.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lisa ELMWOOD PARK, IL, United States 03-07-15
    Lisa ELMWOOD PARK, IL, United States 03-07-15 Member Since 2011
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    "nice compilation of short stories"

    I enjoyed this compilation of short stories about a variety of Bengali and Indian immigrants . Anyone who is interested to hear different perspectives on the commonly shared theme of being far from home would enjoy this audible book. I also like the variety of readers.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mimi Maryland 03-02-15
    Mimi Maryland 03-02-15 Member Since 2014

    Mimi

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    3
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    "Beautifully written stories, well done"

    Ordinary and lovely people come alive in these stories. The characters in each story are immensely satisfying in their simple elegance. You will find yourself wanting more and more.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Carly Savannah, Gabon 02-10-15
    Carly Savannah, Gabon 02-10-15 Member Since 2010

    "All the secrets of the world are contained in books. Read at your own risk." — Lemony Snicket

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    "Beautifully written"

    I loved the stories- wonderful snapshots of what it is like to be an Indian immigrant in America. My only tiny criticism has to do with the performance. I thought the guitar interludes were a tiny bit random in where they were placed. But other than that, the words create an incredibly vivid portrait of the lives of these people trying to find their way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A. A. Baldwin Fort Smith, AR USA 01-22-15
    A. A. Baldwin Fort Smith, AR USA 01-22-15 Member Since 2012
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    "Splendid!"

    Splendid. Superb. Subtle. Serious. Silly. Sonorous. Significant. Sublime. Sensual. Sensible.

    Without a doubt the most enjoyable collection of short stories I've read in ages. The beautiful writing describes places and persons I've yet to see, but still feel I know their thoughts intimately now. The glimpses of Indian and Indian-American culture are priceless and thought-provoking.

    I listened to this book on Audible. My only complaint is the 'chapters' of the audiobook do not correspond in any way to the short stories. Each ends in the middle of a chapter and the next begins. Nonsensical, that.

    The narrator is wonderful, though, and I have not a single critical word to add. This book is simply awesome.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lynda 01-08-15
    Lynda 01-08-15
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    "Not for me"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    I just could not relate


    Would you ever listen to anything by Jhumpa Lahiri again?

    maybe, but I would definitely listen to the sample first


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    I thought the narration was okay, just wasn't interested in what was being said


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    It was well written, I just didn't care for the story


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kent 01-08-15
    Kent 01-08-15 Member Since 2014

    Pediatrician. Classics, Literary Fiction and SciFi lover"

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    "Unremastered audio"

    This performance has not been remastered for Audible and retains the awkward cuts from the end of the disks it was recorded too. This is completely subpar and I will be returning what otherwise would have been an otherwise masterful collection.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 11-09-14
    Jami VICTOR, NY, United States 11-09-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Short Stories of Real Life Situations"

    I give this a 3.5-3.75 overall. I thought that some of the stories were pretty average, but there were three that were very good. I think my expectations were high because of all the positive things that I heard, but many stories didn't fulfill those expectations. I liked the title story, as well as the first and last stories the best. The narration was good, although it would have been nice to have different voices used in the various stories.

    The one distracting thing in the audio version was that at some points in the stories, music played. It didn't signify the end of a story or end of a track, and it was more distracting than anything else; there was no sense as to the placement of the musical breaks.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    smarmer Los Angeles, CA USA 08-23-14
    smarmer Los Angeles, CA USA 08-23-14 Member Since 2011

    smarmer

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    "I thought the narrator was excellent!"
    Any additional comments?

    Contrary to other reviewers I thought that the reader was outstanding. For the most part she captured the whimsy of the female characters in each story. The male characters came across a bit more flat, but still good enough. She moved into and out of a Bengali accent quite well most of the time.

    The stories themselves had a melancholy aura as meditations on the difficulty of creating and sustaining intimacy. There was also a slight hint of Flannery O'Conner as I waited for each story to lead to some disaster. Usually the disaster was milder than in an O'Conner story, to my relief.

    These were hours well spent but this is not Checkov and by the end there was a degree of predictability. Still, to get the flavor of India transplanted to Boston, these are worth the listening.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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