Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Women on Wednesday - Jhumpa Lahiri

This weekly event is hosted by Susan at West of Mars' Rocks 'n Reads.

She says: " Every Wednesday, write about a book you loved that’s written by a woman. Celebrate a woman author whose books you love. Talk about a book you’re dying to read. "

The first of Jhumpa Lahiri's books that I read was The Namesake. I enjoyed it very much and loved Lahiri's simple yet beautiful way with words. I did not know then that this wasn't her best work by any means. 

Only very recently did I read Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize winning collection of short stories Interpreter of Maladies. I'm not a fan of short stories, usually. I find them too abrupt sometimes or worse, unmoving and aloof. But Lahiri's short stories are wonderful: rich in emotion, beautiful in prose yet easy to read.

I've been reading a lot of Indian/Indian-born writers of late and I can say with certainty that though there is no dearth of talent, Lahiri is one of the best writers we have. Though the main theme of her writing is always about the lives of Indian Americans or Indians abroad, her stories never give the air of being repetitive. 

Her attention to detail, her crafting of characters and best of all, her ability to evoke the emotions of the reader are some qualities that make Lahiri an unforgettable writer. 

Her stories affect you long after you're done reading them. This instance will be appreciated by those who have read Interpreter of Maladies: every time I chop vegetables, the image of Mrs. Sen neatly dicing and slicing vegetables while longing for home, stays evergreen in my mind.

I shall be reading her latest collection of short stories Unaccustomed Earth very soon and I'm sure I'll enjoy it, judging from the great things I've heard about this book!


Veens said...

I have only read Unaccustomed Earth! And I loved it. I want to read the 2 titles you mention... someday I will get to them as well.

I am VERY sure you will enjoy Unaccustomed Earth, i definitely did :)

Anonymous said...

I have her on my list of must read. From your description, I know I would love her writing.

Paperback Reader said...

One of my best writing discoveries of last year; her prose is so lush and I'm looking forward to reading Unaccustomed Earth this year (I read the first story through DailyLit and reviewed it last year and had to buy the collection).

Kals said...

Veens - You're making me even more eager than I already am :) You ought to read The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies. I think you'll love them!

Old Bookworm - I'd love to know your opinion of her writing once you read Lahiri's books :)

Claire - I didn't follow Lahiri much earlier, either. She is a very gifted writer for sure :)

Bhargavi said...

i am yet to read any of her books.. will have to do it soon !!

Shweta said...

You MUST read Unaccustomed Earth. It's wonderful just as all her other books and short stories ..

couchpapaya said...

I've read all three books and loved them, but my favorite by far is the Interpreter. Those stories were just so evocative for me. This is a really fun meme you are doing!

Anonymous said...

I loved The Interpreter of Maladies too and my favourite story was 'Mrs. Sen's'. I can't wait to read Unaccustomed Earth. Lahiri's prose is beautiful and effortlessly draws you into her stories.

Just wanted to say what a lovely blog you have. You've posted on many Indian books that are new me.

Kals said...

You'll definitely enjoy Unaccustomed Earth. It's definitely very much like her usual style - great narratives and wonderful eye for detail!

Thank you so very much - your blog is equally lovely:) There are a lot of excellent Indian books in English that are sadly not as widely read as they should be. I'm discovering more of them and I'm enjoying the reading journey :)


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