Interpreter of Maladies: A Real Durwan
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The residents want someone to blame so use her earlier harmless ramblings to dismiss her pleas of innocence.
The comparison with Rohinton Mistry is apt as he explores similar themes. However, I find he has a warmth and compassion for his characters often missing in Lahiri's stories.
I wonder if this might be because Mistry lived (grew up) in India before moving to Canada, so he writes of an India that was a key part of his life. Lahiri had not lived in India for any decent length of time at the time of writing these stories. This is speculation entirely because, of course, good writers can create characters and settings without having lived there.
1/ It was winter of the year 1853. A large man stepped out of a doorway.
2/ Henry J. Warburton had never much cared for snowstorms.
3/ Henry hated snowstorms.
4/ God how he hated these damn snowstorms.
5/ Snow. Under your collar, down inside your shoes, freezing and plugging up your miserable soul.
It's like using a narrative camera to zoom in and out, if you will.
Lahiri kept a careful narrative distance from certain key characters in many of these stories, I found. Mistry kept less of a narrative distance. As a reader, I find that the greater the narrative distance, the more I am being invited to form my own opinions and draw on my own experiences to bring the character to life in my head. As a writer, this is the main reason I would choose greater narrative distance also.
Using a child's perspective/POV is also a key device to help with narrative distance. You zoom in for the child's actions/thoughts, then zoom out when showing the adult's actions/thoughts. So, it's a specific, conscious choice for a writer to use a child's POV in a particular story/scene.
And, of course, narrative distance variation changes the mood of a story for a reader. Closer and you make a scene more intense; further away and you make it less intense.
The situation of needing to adapt to a different culture (if only to be able to live one's life within it, where that's possible) interests me. Although my own cross-cultural experiences are quite minor in comparison to these. But interesting to look at.