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Interpreter of Maladies af Jhumpa Lahiri
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Interpreter of Maladies (original 1999; udgave 1999)

af Jhumpa Lahiri

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingSamtaler / Omtaler
10,771236483 (4.09)1 / 318
Noveller om indiske udvandrere.
Medlem:javagal
Titel:Interpreter of Maladies
Forfattere:Jhumpa Lahiri
Info:Mariner Books (1999), Paperback, 208 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Interpreter of Maladies af Jhumpa Lahiri (1999)

Nyligt tilføjet afthekimfamily, SErdman, mollyjo, FusionLF, estovicek, GrrrlNotGirl, DrewSkadoo, privat bibliotek, sharvani
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Engelsk (224)  Catalansk (4)  Spansk (3)  Tysk (1)  Portugisisk (Portugal) (1)  Hollandsk (1)  Alle sprog (234)
Viser 1-5 af 234 (næste | vis alle)
Fiction short stories with lots of Indian/Bengali/American perspectives (international author) [pulitzer 22] ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
While I wasn't totally thrilled with the audio, the stories still prevailed. ( )
  LibroLindsay | Jun 18, 2021 |
This short story collection was Lahiri's very first publication and she won an armful of awards for it, which is logical because if you were to try and imagine the Platonic archetype of a "New Yorker short story" any one of these would do just fine, and indeed several of them were first published there. They're flawlessly written, with complex characterization, engrossing narratives, and emotional nuances in that literary fiction way where at the end of each one you're satisfied but thoughtful, not exactly happy but spiritually enriched somehow - "stories that make you go hmm". Most of them are set in the US, with the remainder taking place in India, and they all deal with some aspect of "the Bengali Indian/Indian-American experience", which generally seems to mean either dealing with culture shock or relationship issues or both. Not a perfect set of stories, since there is a total absence of joy here, but I came away respecting Lahiri's decision to concentrate on the melancholy aspects of the seam between cultures and the gap between expectations and reality, even if some more humor would have improved several of them. Often when I didn't enjoy some aspects of the stories I revised my understanding on rereading, because for the most part they're deeply written, and the restraint and economy of her style is key to the concepts she's trying to convey even if they come off as strange or unpleasurable at first.

- "A Temporary Matter". A couple has been failing to properly deal with the emotional fallout of the stillbirth of their child, until utility work on their house forces them to confront each other. There's an infamous adage that dealing with death is what separates a true "serious writer" from the amateur; by that criterion this story is as serious as it gets, but it's so sad in both its subject and its ending that you understand why most people treat reading as an escape and not a serious matter. I get that both staying in and leaving from a dead relationship are depressing, but man.

- "When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine". A young Bengali Indian-American girl's family takes a Bangladeshi man under their wing while his family back home is threatened by the Bangladeshi war of independence. This is a solid commentary on how how remote and irrelevant affairs in the home country can seem to second-generation immigrants, neatly illustrated in reverse as well via the Bangladeshi man's puzzlement over Americanisms like Halloween customs.

- "Interpreter of Maladies". An Indian tour guide fields the questions and life experiences of a particularly ill-matched Indian-American couple and their children. Having just returned from a trip to Bangladesh myself I really sympathize with the poor tour guide's discomfort at the haplessness of tourists, but the unredeemed and unleavened contemptibility of the family in this story doesn't leave you with a good feeling about humanity. There's a whiff of commentary on how debauched Indian-Americans can be when they've lost touch with their heritage, but on further reflection I don't think Lahiri was trying to make a statement in that way, it seems more likely that these are just individually miserable people and not culturally miserable people. To interpret is also to translate, and so the tour guide's unease with these people is in the end perfectly relatable, as is his refusal to absolve the wife of her willful sins.

- "A Real Durwan". An old woman who was possibly once rich acts as a janitor/guardian for a Calcutta housing estate, as new wealth threatens to change the relationship between her and the rest of the building's residents. This is one of those "writing as formal justification for itself" stories that I find hard to criticize but also hard to respond to emotionally. The protagonist's plot arc is unhappy but not really sad, since the fact that the other residents don't believe her stories is the only bit of characterization she's given, so when she's used as the scapegoat for the building's misfortune it comes off as more of as writerly effort - the cycle of her personal falls from grace recapitulated in the community - than a genuinely moving narrative.

- "Sexy". A woman becomes a mistress to a rich banker, which is fun until it isn't, as the real ambivalence of being a side chick sinks in. Despite this story using some heavy-handed tricks - the parallels in the romantic travails of the protagonist's coworker's cousin are a bit too unsubtle, the whole scene with the cousin's overly precocious son she's babysitting is just bizarre - I liked how well it illustrated the paradoxically irresistible appeal of unsustainable affairs, how liberating making mistakes can be, and even though the arcs of passion inevitably return back down to earth, that descent doesn't have to be wrenching or awful but part of life.

- "Mrs. Sen's". A homesick elderly Indian woman who is having major issues adjusting to certain aspects of American life babysits a young white American boy whose single mother is trying to get her life in order. I guess you could say the theme of this story is "maturity", as all the main characters have some adjustment to do, but for some reason I found the title character's frustration with staples of the American experience like driving a car poignant, even if it's objectively pretty childish to refuse to learn how to drive. Assimilation has costs as well as benefits, and at a certain age I think you have the right to take a pass on certain ways of fitting in. I did mourn somewhat that the slapstick potential of some scenes were unrealized, but perhaps that would have undermined the characters.

- "This Blessed House". An uptight traditionalist man newly married to a free-spirited Americanized woman is really not happy with her delighted irony about the Christian religious paraphernalia they keep finding left over from the previous owners in the house they've just bought. Odd couples are a classic sitcom premise, and the New World vs Old World elements give this story the promise of a pilot episode, even if Lahiri scrupulously avoids any hint of comedy in the husband's attempts to cope with the wacky Manic Pixie Dream Girl aspects of the woman he's married after only 4 months of knowing her. Of course in real life this sort of marriage is almost instantly doomed, so as the story ends with the husband staring into the future thinking "oh boy, this is my life now", you're not exactly pulling for them to stay together.

- "The Treatment of Bibi Haldar". An epileptic Indian peasant girl deals with the bafflement and scorn of her community as she attempts to find love despite her condition. Yet another one of these stories that is formally flawless but emotionally unengaging because there's not a lot of dramatic action around the central problem. It actually feels like an over-literal interpretation or bad translation of a fairy tale with all of the magic and wonder stripped out, so instead of wicked stepsisters and helpful talking animal friends you just have this poor girl living in a shack desperately trying to get laid, waiting for a prince and having seizures once in a while. Disney is unlikely to option this one though.

- "The Third and Final Continent". An Indian immigrant to the US via London boards in the room of an incredibly old woman's house and deals with her being incredibly old until he can move out and bring his wife, who he barely knows, to America to begin their life together. That sounds really boring, but this was my favorite story. It's written as a first-person journal, so the stiff diction matches the stiffness of the main character's personality and therefore the lack of emotion in his life complements Lahiri's disengaged style rather than reveals it. Plus this story focuses on beginnings instead the sadness that permeates most of the other ones, so you're really pulling for the main character as he calmly deals with the loneliness of being isolated in a strange country without much money. ( )
  aaronarnold | May 11, 2021 |
While well-written and fascinatingly thought-provoking, they're all quite depressing. These stories basically amount to analyses of failed relationships, broken identities, and pain through complex, well-defined characters. ( )
  revatait | Feb 21, 2021 |
Writes well but only three stories really do it for me - probably the content rather than the writing. In the other tales many of the characters do not have an internal logic. They come across (to me at any rate) as stupid, selfish, unaware. The stories that I like give the characters an internal logic for their actions - in the others characters come across as patronised by the author, or perhaps stereotypes. The ones I really like are:
Sexy
Mrs Sen's
The Third and Final Continent
(plus an honourable mention for This Blessed House)
Interesting that all these are in the latter half of the book..... ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
Viser 1-5 af 234 (næste | vis alle)
In this accomplished collection of stories, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the lives of people on two continents -- North America and India -- and in doing so announces herself as a wonderfully distinctive new voice. Indeed, Ms. Lahiri's prose is so eloquent and assured that the reader easily forgets that ''Interpreter of Maladies'' is a young writer's first book.
 

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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Jhumpa Lahiriprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Cooley, StevenOmslagsdesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Dahlström, EvaForordmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Emeis, MarijkeOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Overholtzer, RobertDesignermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Sjöstrand, EvaOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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While the astronauts, heroes forever, spent mere hours on the moon, I have remained in this new world for nearly thirty years. I know that my achievement is quite ordinary. I am not the only man to seek his fortune far from home, and I am certainly not the first. Still, there are times I am bewildered by each mile I have traveled, each meal I have eaten, each person I have known, each room in which I have slept. As ordinary as it all appears, there are times when it is beyond my imagination.
As stunned as I was, I knew what I had to say. With no hesitation at all, I cried out, "Splendid!"
In fact, the only thing that appeared three-dimensional about Boori Ma was her voice: brittle with sorrows, as tart as curds, and shrill enough to grate meat from a coconut.
He wondered if Mr. and Mrs. Das were a bad match, just as he and his wife were. Perhaps they, too, had little in common apart from three children and a decade of their lives. The signs he recognized from his own marriage were there--the bickering, the indifference, the protracted silences.
In its own way this correspondence would fulfill his dream, of serving as an interpreter between nations.
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