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Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Although I don't typically read short stories, I'm glad I made an exception for Interpreter of Maladies. Jhumpa Lahiri has a quiet, understated voice, but her stories surprised me as they were dramatic and powerful. She begins each story with a flat, almost detached statement, like: “At the tea stall Mr. and Mrs. Das bickered about who should take Tina to the toilet.” Her stories end similarly, leaving me wondering how she could drop such important information so casually, like leaving glass on the floor for readers to step on.

Lahiri's stories center on broken romantic relationships. In one, a woman chooses to be a married man's mistress; in another, a man who rushed into marriage does not understand his wife's habits and is often annoyed by her lack of intellect and ambition. Most of Lahiri's writing conveys sadness, though without cynicism. She manages a balance between the two wonderfully, evoking feelings, but I don't feel the usual annoyance when something is supposed to be sad.

The last three stories are ­different: a young Indian girl's American-born perspective on the East Pakistan-India conflict; an old woman's life as she is sidelined by her greedy neighbors; and a woman who is ostracized by relatives because of her seizures. All are poignant and feel real. Lahiri's characters live in readers' thoughts, not just the pages of her stories.

I feel Lahiri's stories are sometimes left unresolved. ­Although they don't have a glaringly obvious dramatic structure, I found myself occasionally flipping pages after the ending, thinking, Now what happens? In many, I was left with the feeling that the character had changed, but I had not seen conclusive proof of it.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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Laugh-it-OutThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jun. 23, 2013 at 7:59 pm
Wow, great review and congrats on the check mark!! Sorry for taking sooooo long to comment.I really enjoyed reading this :) Keep rockin
 
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