Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Interpreter of Maladies - Jhumpa Lahiri

Though I'm not a big fan of contemporary literature,I picked this book,only to learn about the author's style, considering its hype as a Pulitzer prize winning work..The interpreter of Maladies is the debut novel of  Jhumpa Lahiri with 9 short stories..

Interpreter of Maladies is a perfect blending of various shades of life....All the stories have one common thing,that every story has a Melancholic Feel as undercurrent...Not a single story had a "Happily ever after" ending....Except two ('The Real Durwan' and The Treatment of Bibi Haldar) rest of the stories are NRI related with unique and distinctive characters hailed from Bengali society...The NRI life style was lavishly discussed in most of the stories...The author put continuous effort of  projecting    proportionality between Indian values and Western values..Here I'm going to introduce few of them for you...
Image from google
Mrs.Sen's is a story of an Indian woman,living with her husband in America ..She terribly misses her people and homeland..Though she has crossed great oceans to live in foreign land,she could not cope with the western life style and unable to dissolve her ties with mother land....She complains Atlantic fish is not as tasty as Kolkata fish...Her homesickness often drives her crazy..She is fed up with narrowing her boundaries in between  the walls and doors unlike the Indian life style...The description of her longing to visit her people is simply wonderful...Mrs.Sen's story reveals the truth that however people easily transform themselves in to the foreign outfits and change their habits in the process of adopting the foreign culture,their basic roots are always strong enough to have a clash in their inmost soul...

The Real Durwan is a story of Boori ma who lives at a mailbox area of an apartment in Kolkata..She takes care of the stairs having an eye on passers-by....The two new wash basins bought by Dalal's family creates envy in the rest of the families provoking them to re-model the flats with more comforts..This change affects Boorima's life severely....This story is a typical example of nowadays life style where people run after comforts leaving behind the human relations and values...The stolen wash basin represents possessing things and comforts also leads to the fear of loosing them...

The two stories 'Interpreter of maladies' and 'Sexy' have a resemblance,that is 'guilt'...Both the stories mirrors internal struggle for values and commitments...


"A Temporary Matter" is a heart touching story of a NRI couple,Shoba and Shukumar..Even after 6 months,the couple unable to come out of the grief caused by loosing their first baby at delivery ..They try to catch their routine nevertheless they miss liveliness in their relationship..There is no such great story or any thing to stick you to the book,but the Author simply played with words and emotions...


"When Mr.Pirzada came to dine" is a story of a Mr.Pirzada from Dacca,who departs from his family and his struggle to unite with them in the time of Pak-Bangladesh partition..

The Blessed House is the only story I disliked in the book...

Regarding the title story,The Interpreter of maladies,
The protagonist Mr.Kapasi is appointed as a driver cum guide to a NRI family,Mr.& Mrs.Das  with their 3 children...Two boys Ronny,Bobby and a girl,who came to visit Konark temple...Mr.Kapasi who is also an interpreter of diseases for Gujarati patients observes the couple's lacking affection and care towards their children..Mrs.Das inquires about Mr.Kapasi's second job as an Interpreter...She compliments his job which provokes a romantic streak in him..The time Mr.Das left with their 3 children for sightseeing leaving behind the two,the privacy talk between them brings out the clear picture of  the family for Mr.Kapasi ...Mrs.Das shares her secret that Bobby is not Mr.Das's son..She begs for help of Mr.Kapasi because he is very good interpreter of deceases...She believes that he might comfort her eight long years guilt and deep suffering...But feeling  awkwardness with his repulsive gaze she quietly get down from the car...At the end Mr.Kapasi saves Bobby who is surrounded and hurt by monkeys....Das family returns,leaving a sour experience to Mr.Kapasi..

These are few lines from the last story The Third and final continent,
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 certainly I am 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.

Coming to the drawbacks,Though the stories carry nice concepts,Some times too much description of smaller to smaller details make us loose interest in the book at some points...

Similar to a piece of Modern art, I describe it as a piece of  Modern writing...The narration is the most typical thing which appears to be simple yet very complicated to understand...It is definitely not a casual read..To grab the complete essence of the stories,one must read it with an extrasensory perception..

27 comments:

Sri Valli said...

Sounds like a good book, Thanks for the review :)

I love your paintings, kotha paintings emanna vesara e madhya?

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@Valli,
Thanks a lot Valli...:-)I was busy travelling all this time and unable to find time for paintings..Will surely try to post some.Thanks yaar..:-)

Amit - The Frivolous Analyser said...

I had read it long back. A Temporary Matter was simply brilliant 'coz I remember the story till now...

AmitAag said...

...nice review Nagini:) Thank you!

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Amit,
Thanks for stopping by..I too loved A Temporary matter,but The Real Durwan is my favourite..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Amit Jee,
Thanks a lot for being here..:-)

Sekhar said...

Thanks for introducing the book....feeling the pain is sometimes a good feeling.Will read it

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Sekhar Jee,
Thanks a lot for your comment..:-)I remembered a saying "Behind every beautiful thing, there's some kind of pain.”..:-)

Debopam said...

Sounds like an interesting read..... Thanks for the review.....

http://debnature.blogspot.in

vajra said...

Thank you Nagini for the wonderful review of the book. After google exploration the next place I explore for good books is your blog. One eg to justify my statement is earlier I dnt know about Pather Pancheli frm Satyajit rey...I came abt tht wonderful movie/book frm u r blog... Thank you for suggesting and reviewing the books to us.
Happy Blogging
Vajra

Found In Folsom said...

Nagini..review chadavakunda comment rasestunna...:P indukana..inni rojulu malla gayab ayyipoyaru :) mellaga chaduvutane..malla pani modalu pettanu..kshanam teerika ledu..dammidi aadayam ledu annatlu undi naa pani.. :(

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Debopam,
Thanks a lot Debo..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Vajra,
First of all Happy new year..:-) Your comment is very encouraging for me.Really,You made my day.Thank you so much for your kind words..:-) .

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Found in Folsom,
Latha garu,Cheer Up..:-)మీరు ఒక్క ముక్క రాసినా కూడా అది నాకు చాలా valuable...బిజీ లో కూడా కామెంట్ పెట్టారు..ఇది నాకు చాలా ఎక్కువ.Thank you so so much..:-)

Arumugam Easwar said...

Read that book many times ... still reading for the author's style and beautiful narration. Of all the stories I like the 'temporary matter. I wrote a review on this story in of the social net works. Her novel the 'namesake' is too good.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Aarumugam,
Nice to know that you loved the book..I haven't read Namesake..Thanks a lot for taking time and commenting..:-)

Me said...

My personal favourites though is asked to choose The namesake would definitely steal the show!! :)

Kenneth M. Banks said...

Good work done! keep the review for
continuously great. Thank you for sharing with us.

http://shilp3005.blog.com said...

Hey thats a good review. I have read 2 others books by Jhumpa Lahiri (Name sake and Unaccustomed Earth) and I loved her work..I have been planning to buy this one too ....and after ur review I will for sure :-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Me,
The Namesake is in my reading list :-) Thanks yaar..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Kenneth &
@ Shilpa,

Thanks a lot for your precious feedback..:-)

aliasgarmukhtiar mukhtiar said...

nice one

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Mukhthiar,
Welcome to my blog..Thanks a lot for the comment..:-)

rangarajaniyengar said...

excellent blog! loved reading it ... if and when u have time, do visit my blog. i had just written the book review of IOM and would love to hear your feedback:
http://rangarajaniyengar.wordpress.com/2013/08/20/book-review-interpreter-of-maladies/

Minima Lumine said...

Great review. I also made one, by the way! Hope you can check it if you have time. :-) Best wishes for your literary flame!

http://minimalumine.blogspot.com/

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ rangarajaniyengar,
Thanks a lot for the visit and comment..Would love to read your review as well..:-)

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Minima Lumine,
Thank you so much for stopping by..Sure,will visit your blog too..:-)