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Interpreter of Maladies / The Namesake

Average Rating 4.5
( 179 )
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(92)

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(58)

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(17)

2 Star

(6)

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(6)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

A guaranteed source of joy, even for thos of us who aren't fans of short stories!

I picked up Interpreter of Maladies after having fallen in love with Lahiri's writing style in The Namesake . I normally am not a fan of the short story, as it usually lacks the depth that comes with getting to know characters over the course of a longer novel. However,...
I picked up Interpreter of Maladies after having fallen in love with Lahiri's writing style in The Namesake . I normally am not a fan of the short story, as it usually lacks the depth that comes with getting to know characters over the course of a longer novel. However, I must say Lahiri manages to capture her readers' feelings and captivates their senses through her short stories in very much the same way she does in The Namesake. Her short stories may give those of us who aren't fans of this style of writing a new appreciation of the art that of luring & engaging readers over the course of only a few pages. This marvelous collection of short stories makes you forget this is Lahiri's very first work!

posted by Anonymous on February 27, 2006

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

Want an interesting book to read, then dont read this!

Do you get fustrated when trying to figure something out, and just feel like giving up? Then this book isn't for you!Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies is an extremely confusing, complicated, and contemptible series of stories, as it contains unfamiliar settings, m...
Do you get fustrated when trying to figure something out, and just feel like giving up? Then this book isn't for you!Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies is an extremely confusing, complicated, and contemptible series of stories, as it contains unfamiliar settings, miscellaneous characters, a displeasing plot, and because the novel was so poorly written it was impossible to make connections throughout the book. Interpreter of Maladies is not a fun book to read.

posted by Anonymous on February 16, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2006

    A guaranteed source of joy, even for thos of us who aren't fans of short stories!

    I picked up Interpreter of Maladies after having fallen in love with Lahiri's writing style in The Namesake . I normally am not a fan of the short story, as it usually lacks the depth that comes with getting to know characters over the course of a longer novel. However, I must say Lahiri manages to capture her readers' feelings and captivates their senses through her short stories in very much the same way she does in The Namesake. Her short stories may give those of us who aren't fans of this style of writing a new appreciation of the art that of luring & engaging readers over the course of only a few pages. This marvelous collection of short stories makes you forget this is Lahiri's very first work!

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 1, 2010

    beautifully and elegantly written

    I enjoyed reading this wonderfully put-together book. Each family's story captivated a unique perspective on Indian immigrants. In addition, Lahiri's writing style beautifully weaves all these characters into a common journey of self identity and preservation of culture.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 27, 2009

    A New Favorite!

    I read this book for a book club and it instantly became one of my favorites! While the tone may be a tad bit depressing at times, the book overall shines as a true picture of humanity. As a historian, I will admit I have not studied Indian culture and this book has inspired me to do just that. It beautifully depicts Indian culture in America and India.

    Each of the short stories depicts vastly different situations and are written from the perspective of young and old, male and female. Sometimes we see the lives of these Indian cultures from those living them, other times from outside observers. No matter who is telling us the story, we always get a unique and touching picture into the character's lives.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 12, 2009

    theme:search for identity.

    One of the themes Lahiri deals in most prolifically is the search for identity, as defined by the self, by others, by location and by circumstance. In Lahiri's stories, everything -- including gender, homeland, geography, occupation, and role within the community -- can act in determining and qualifying identity. Lahiri brings up interesting questions as to what can and cannot act as agents in the determination of identity, and many of her characters struggle against or conform to outside influences that have effects on self-definition and outside definition. The following questions delve into Lahiri's study of what affects identity in Interpreter of Maladies.she reveals characters inner world by a fascinating yet deceptively in simple style.i enjoyed this book thouroulyand i am greatly fascinated by her writing.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2007

    This book was great!!!

    After reading the Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, I have noticed that the novel expresses its character, plot, and setting in an ingenious and creative way. Lahiri has created a novel that expresses different feelings and plots, making the book informative and visionary in people¿s head. The book, Interpreter of Maladies, has gotten raving reviews and won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. The novel consists of nine short stories and tumultuous relationships making the plot grow in thickness and contemplation.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2009

    Keen insight into the immigrant experience in the United States

    I enjoyed this book so much, that I am now reading her second book of short stories, Unaccumstomed Earth. The characters in Interpreter of Maladies are developed to a degree often not possible in the short story genre. The collection brings to life the immigrant experience of Bengalis of all generations as they interact with the American culture and people. Each story is unique in the way that is explores the cultural and interpersonal relationships. While the Bengalis are the focus of the stories, we also see themes that are universal.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2007

    Indian Culture Throughout the World

    Jhumpa Lahari's Interpreter of Maladies is a very well writen book, filled with extrememly interesting characters and plot settings, and text connections for any reader. Throughout this book, I have enjoyed becoming deeply interested in the Indian Culture. In each chpter a new set of characters is set off on a different adventure in one of he four following places: United States, Pakistan, India, and London. Each character brings forth a part of their own culture and through chapters, ou can see it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 13, 2009

    I enjoyed reading the book

    It was quite enjoyable to read a book with so much humanity. Some stories are absolutely beautiful, especially the '3rd and Final Continent' was my favorite. I recommend this book to anyone.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2007

    Excellent Short Stories!

    This is an excellent book of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. I like the imagery created in each of the stories and the flow of the words. The setting in ¿When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine¿ reminds me of several college students attending school in America. Their situations were always a little different. The short story of the same name as the book, ¿Interpreter of Maladies¿ is most interesting. Mr. Kapasi was quite a fellow with his imagination and plotting. Likewise, Mrs. Das had her flair for secrecy and passionate desires. ¿This Blessed House¿ shows the continual controversy between individuals of different religious beliefs and how they are able to live under the same roof. The entire book is a real treat to read. I have enjoyed all the stories. Additionally, I have listened to the digital audio book and it¿s also wonderful. I would recommend this book to my friends.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2007

    Want an interesting book to read, then dont read this!

    Do you get fustrated when trying to figure something out, and just feel like giving up? Then this book isn't for you!Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies is an extremely confusing, complicated, and contemptible series of stories, as it contains unfamiliar settings, miscellaneous characters, a displeasing plot, and because the novel was so poorly written it was impossible to make connections throughout the book. Interpreter of Maladies is not a fun book to read.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2005

    Very interesting

    mix of India and America, of traditional and modern, love, jealousy, grief, loneliness and dreams. Ms Lahiri successfully cut across cultural boundaries through characters that imprint themselves in the minds of readers of al backgrounds. It is understandable why Ms. Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the O. Henry Award and the Pen/Hemingway Award in her first published work. She possesses a huge vocabulary and unique writing style.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2005

    A Lot to Learn

    Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri is a very fascinating book by the many different relationships that we get to be involved. Each relationship is different and not only between a man and woman, but also the relationships that are built by complete strangers. It is remarkable to see how all of these characters seek love beyond the barriers of nationality and cultures. I think this book is a great read based on the short stories and your chance to get a feel of how other cultures live on their quest to find love. I thought this book had some useful information for engaged or newly married couples on how love can change over time. I think that Lahiri wrote this book, not for the reader to be happy, but for us to learn a sense of compassion and understanding for the Indian Culture. Our lives as Americans are so fully of one view, that this book helps us open our eyes more to the less talked about issues that face not only the Indian culture, but ours as well such as marital infidelity, search of an identity in a place where we feel we dont belong, and the out comes of social pressure to be something that we are not. Interpreter of Maladies is a book where we are Lahiri wants us to be involved as much as possible. Her writing style is so easy to follow and her stories are so beautifully written that you can¿t help but to laugh, cry, or even yell and parts of the story as you feel so connected to each character that she presents. I think Lahri achieved her purpose in writing this book, by showing us the reader how racial problems and marital strife can be a challenge, yet a blessing when coming to America. Lahiri¿s writing is so beautiful, that we can¿t help but get lost in this book. We see how each relationship is different and how each relationship can over come the trials that are presented in two different cultures. There are many barriers that are set about, but we can see how the Indian culture will fight to make things work, instead of running and giving up. The quest for love is a hard one, but with work, struggle and over powering it, love can last a lifetime. This book is a great read and if you are looking for something to change your mind on a variety of issues, this book will do it. Your emotions will run with you the whole way.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2005

    Interpreting Lahiriâ¿¿s Maladies

    We are often wowed by tales of war, tragic love, or deceitful revenge, but some stories invoke that same amazement through more ordinary situations. Exhibiting the emotional essence of humanity in all its frailty, perseverance, and beauty, these stories leave a lasting impression that echoes within our hearts. Such is the case in Jhumpa Lahiri⿿s 'Interpreter of Maladies,' which captures the struggle for love and a peoples⿿ search for identity in a way that touches readers regardless of background. The short stories in Lahiri⿿s book chronicle the happiness and hardship of Indian immigrants through situations and emotions that need no translation, focusing on emotional similarities while holding true to the beauty of cultural diversity. Despite many different changes in voice, time period, and location, the reality of the situations is flawless. Lahiri switches from first to third person, male to female, and old to young. In each case the characters come across so real that the reader feels as if they⿿re reading about someone they⿿ve known for years. The scenes and characters jump to life within the pages of 'Interpreter of Maladies,' giving an almost voyeuristic insight into the scenarios. Lahiri⿿s excellent rhythm and perfect believability never once leave that, ⿿C⿿mon, that would never happen,⿝ impression, even to the most skeptical of readers. So in terms of technique, it is easy to see why this book won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, but the reasons go far beyond technique. The content of a story like 'When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine' really challenges the reader in several ways. The first is the obvious conflict between clinging to one⿿s culture and assimilating to the ways of the land. Lilia, the ten year-old daughter of first generation Indian immigrants, is the perfect literary tool to demonstrate the tensions of cultural absorption. She is corrected for calling her father⿿s pre-division Pakistani friend, Mr. Pirzada, ⿿the Indian man⿝ (Lahiri, 25). She is confused by her fathers need to point out the difference in a man who, ⿿spoke the same language, laughed at the same jokes, [and] looked more or less the same⿝ (25). In these few lines, Lahiri uses the innocence of a ten year-old girl to mock the seemingly never-ending conflict between Muslim and Hindu, but at the same time, she is showing how their similarities draw them together on the foreign soil of America. 'When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine' also challenges the naïve isolationism that exists in the minds of many Americans. Despite her mother⿿s pointing out to her husband that, ⿿We live here now, [Lilia] was born here,⿝ he is confused at his daughter⿿s lack of a more global education, questioning, ⿿what does she learn about the world?⿝ (26-27). Then later, after Lilia goes out trick-or-treating with her American friend, Dora, she is surprised to find that, ⿿the television,⿝ covering the Pakistani Civil War, ⿿wasn⿿t on at Dora⿿s house at all⿝⿿during the conflict that kept her family glued to the TV screen, Dora⿿s father is, ⿿lying on the couch, reading a magazine, with a glass of wine on the table⿝ (39). Wisely choosing the puzzled observations of an innocent youth to soften the blow and avoid any inkling or preachiness, Lahiri creates an eye-opening assessment of American global naivety. At the same time though, she uses horrific descriptions of war and poverty in and around India throughout the story as an indirect homage to the same country she is critiquing. One of the best examples in 'Maladies' of creating a fictional situation we can all relate to emotionally, and also this writer⿿s favorite story from the book, is 'This Blessed House.' The hilarity of this piece is also a good indication of Lahiri⿿s range as an author. We have all, at one time or another, gotten uptight over the seemingly embarrassing behavior of a loved one⿿given credence to the views of acquaintances without re

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2005

    Honest, Quiet, and Beautiful

    Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri is a quiet collection of short stories that are connected by a common ethnicity. Each story takes a small glance into the lives of the various and well developed characters. It is apparent early on that Lahiri¿s intention for the book was not for it to be a cultural lesson on India. Instead, Lahiri succeeds, in using Indian culture as a border for her stories, and an outline for the universality of the trials and burdens everyone faces. All of this is accomplished without making much noise; there is a subtlety to Lahiri¿s writing, and the book benefits greatly to this style. One of the Lahiri¿s greatest strengths as shown through this book is the way she conveys difficult emotions with her writing. The tone and mood of the short stories are generally of a more melancholy and complex feeling. Feelings like indifference in the short story ¿The Third and Final Continent,¿ or the regret seen in the title story are just a couple examples. The overall depressing feeling can at times be a bit monotonous, but this isn¿t enough to hinder the book at all. The honesty of the writing makes these melancholy feelings seem legitimate and not artificial. Because this book is a collection of short stories it is inevitable that there will be favorites and least favorites. When I came across a short story that I didn¿t like as well it was usually because I couldn¿t figure out the direction of the story or what its purpose was. This didn¿t happen often, and much of the reason is probably due to my inability to relate to the story¿s character. Most of the time the stories were very engaging. Of all eight of the short stories my favorite would probably be ¿This Blessed House.¿ It¿s entirely possible that I would have a different favorite story if a read through the book a second time, but during my first read this story stuck out. The story revolves around a young Indian couple who upon moving into a new home discover the house to be full of old Christian trinkets. The husband is upset by the ridiculous religious artifacts, but his wife is intrigued and humored by them. The result is a battle of wills over these little items. I loved this story so much because of the way Lahiri portrayed the wife ¿ it was this character that added the humor and really drove the story. Having not read any of Lahiri¿s other works, it is hard to compare Interpreter of Maladies to others books. It is easier to compare this book to specific feeling or experience than anything else ¿ like watching a candle slowly burn itself out. As strange as that might sound, it really is how the book feels, and I think that is what Lahiri intended. In a very calm and subtle way these eight stories portray quiet feelings of sadness and joy that are both complex and familiar to everyone. Thoughtful book ¿ highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2005

    Gaining An Understanding

    Although many of the marriages are shown in relation to Indian culture, universal hardships and situations arise and allow for better relation to the stories. Lahiri develops an aura of commonality throughout the book whether dealing with marriage, family, work, or life in general. Characters are seen adapting to American culture with difficulty yet retain poise and dedication. Many of the stories are built with intention of depressing the reader in order for one to reach a true realization of the human experience in different parts of the world. Lahiri does not write to create happiness, but to create understanding and compassion. The book was beautifully written, with strings of sentences put together like priceless artwork. The result was complete involvement of my emotions and personal thoughts into the stories. I winced, laughed and nearly cried at many points during the book. Lahiri excels at creating a setting that 'outsiders' such as I can easily relate to and mentally become a part of. The result is a better understanding of the mores, values and norms existing within Indian culture. Her stories are analogies to events and subjects in life that any individual could experience yet have a balanced infusion of her own culture. Lahiri also dares to explore less openely discussed subjects such as marital infidelity, development of identity, corruption of tradition and societal pressure. In 'The Interpreter of Maladies' marital infidelity is the highlighted topic as the two main characters, Mr.Kapasi and the wonderful Mrs.Das represent the unspoken problem that arises in many relationships, but remains quieted due to the societal pressures each of us face to project an image of flawlessness in love and marriage. The story shows Lahiri's view of repression as disgusting and selfish.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2005

    Marvelously and Simply Written Short Stories

    I came upon this book while browsing the New Author titles a few weeks ago. This is a wonderful collection of short stories that will make you believe in the magic and power of everyday moments. This book helped me to appreciate the smaller things in life.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2004

    Incredible

    I had this on a list of books that I had stumbled upon while browsing online but hadn't bought right away or looked at the list of books until November when my dad asked what I wanted for Christmas. I just picked this book off the list and recieved it for Christmas. It wasn't what I was expecting. I'm totally blown away at the writing! An excellent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2004

    Eloquently written

    I'm not a fan of short stories, so when I come across a selection which is actually good, it comes as a pleasant surprise. Ms. Lahiri's beautiful writing draws you in immediately. A great read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    Simply Amazing

    Each and every short story in this collection is beautifully written and so touching... Lahiri truly knows the depths of the human heart and writes her stories ever-so perfectly. I consider this book a must-read, and even a repeated reading for all!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2004

    In her prose, India breathes.

    Lahiri's prose is polished, simple, beautiful - and very Indian. The culture shock of the transplanted foreigner has rarely been portrayed this poignantly - especially by a new writer in her first book. The protagonists of the nine stories range from a young Indian girl at the time of Partition (1947, when part of India split from the mother country and became Pakistan) to a pair of disillusioned academics with a failing marriage on their hands, to the rather naive, graying tour-guide/interpreter in the title story. The stories are varied, and set in many places, many times, but in the end each piece falls into place and the portrait of India that Lahiri paints is a vibrant, three-dimensional one. Lahiri writes about that which is beautiful as much as that which is shameful; she examines our ways and our culture with a quiet sensitivity and native understanding. It's a beautiful work, truly beautiful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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