Jhumpa Lahiri

Having in recent years claimed the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Hemingway Award, and a Guggenheim Fellowship, Jhumpa Lahiri has emerged as one of fiction’s most decorated and admired new voices. This month marks the publication of her new novel, The Lowland, and so we invited Lahiri to offer some recommendations that share her world-traveled eye for nuance and invention of unforgettable characters.

Memoirs of Hadrian
By Marguerite Yourcenar

“Written in the form of a letter from the Emperor Hadrian’s point of view, this novel is an exceptional rendering of history made personal, an example of a modernist writer meditating with urgency and immediacy on the ancient world.”

Tess of the d”Urbervilles
By Thomas Hardy

“Arguably Hardy’s masterpiece, epic in scope, virtuosic in telling, shattering in effect. An indelible study of society, of human psychology, and of place. A book I re-read at every opportunity.”

Mister Palomar
By Italo Calvino

“I love this novel for its wit, its pathos, and for the profundity of its descriptions. Conceived as a series of idiosyncratic observations about the world that surrounds us, it is, in the end, a cartography of consciousness: one man’s attempt to map his existence, and to arrive at meaning.”

The Collected Stories
By William Trevor

“This book is my bible. It has guided me from the beginning and will inspire me to the end. For his control of language, his depth of vision, his compassion, he has no equal.”

My Poems Won’t Change the World
By Patrizia Cavalli

“I spent a week recently doing nothing but reading these poems. They are witty, frank, disarming, lapidary, philosophical, passionate, exquisite. This new bilingual edition will be a revelation to Anglophone readers.”

Giovanni’s Room
By James Baldwin

“A novel of unique emotional intensity and exceptional beauty, hypnotic, intimate, harrowing. A portrait of a man torn between a woman and another man, groundbreaking for its time, it remains a transcendent novel.”