Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2000With 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
"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)
This was my introduction to Jhumpa Lahiri, and the stories in this volume made me want to read more. But as wonderful as they are, and as perfect a narrator Matilda Novak is, this recording is hampered by poor production. The problem is that there is often no pause whatsoever between stories, which once led me to think that I was still listening to the previous story. Oddly, there are musical interludes WITHIN some of the stories, but not between. Surely this is something that can be fixed easily, but I doubt it's going to happen.
I strongly disliked the performer's voice going high and low I just couldn't wait for the book to be finished and it affected my view about the book so much. This never happened to me before, so I didn't even realize a voice of a reader could be this effective?
Estate planning lawyer and mom to two boys. My older son liked audiobooks as an infant, and I've listened to a lot since then.
I read these stories in print when they were first published, and was excited to re-encounter them as an audiobook when both of my sons read them for school in 8th grade.
I'm very interested in India and Indian culture, and these stories resonated for me in the mixing and clash of cultural identities.
Both my sons enjoyed this as 13 year olds, but I wouldn't say it was their favorite book for school.
I thought the narrator did a very good job.
My biggest beef -- and this is serious -- is that the musical interludes come at random times and not at the end of a short story. I so wish the chapters had been divided by story! It was so hard to use this for school, and unlikely to make me re-listen when I can't easily find the story I want.
My foremost gripe about the performance is that when you narrate stories of a different culture, language, country, then you need to make an effort to pronounce the words correctly, at least the names. Other than that, I found the performance really rushed, sometimes sentences running into each other. The stories are ok-ish. I've read a number of other books by the author and somehow the stories in this one didn't resonate with me and they were all very predictable, like I've heard them before.
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.
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.
Say something about yourself!
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.
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.
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.