Review of Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri


Stories – 4.5 stars

Audiobook edition – 2.5 stars

Gorgeously written short story collection by Jhumpa Lahiri. Her writing style flows so effortlessly and beautifully that it is easy to get lost in her stories. I have to admit that I wasn’t a fan of her collection titled Unaccustomed Earth because I felt like the stories were so similar that they blended into one story that went nowhere. It was gorgeously written, but the stories were too similar. Not a problem in Interpreter of Maladies.

As each story started, I thought – this one is my favourite so far. Then the next one – yeah I think this one is my favourite. They were all so compelling and interesting. I’m not a fan of short stories in general but this one was great.

If I had to choose, I’d pick Mrs. Sen’s, Third and Final Continent, Sexy and This Blessed House as my favourite stories.  I have to say that it was hard to narrow it down to those stories.  My least favourite (and I thought it was very good but it was the one I enjoyed the least) was the title story, Interpreter of Maladies.  Mrs. Das drove me nuts at times.

That said, I do have a few complaints about the audiobook edition. The narrator, Matilda Novak, did a great job when she was reading the stories…except for when she put on accents. They were awful and distracting. Her Indian and Boston accents were atrocious. I hope she sticks to her own accent in future audiobooks because she sounds clear and does a good job. My other complaint about the audiobook was there were a few musical intermissions that you’d think were there to divide the stories. Nope. The musical intros were completely random and sometimes happened in between sentences. It was pretty silly at times.

Overall, I definitely recommend reading the book but I would stay away from the audiobook unless it’s the only way you can get to consume this short story collection.


2 thoughts on “Review of Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

  1. Eeek, I think Interpreter of Maladies was one of my gateway drugs into the world of short stories. I love it so much and I ought to reread it. I have an unread Unaccustomed Earth, but I think I want to reread Interpreter of Maladies first.

    My favorite stories were (and I had to wiki): “A Temporary Matter” and “This Blessed House.” I’ve read “This Blessed House” twice now and it’s interesting how I changed my mind about the ending every time. My first time reading I thought ‘they’re doomed. I foresee a divorce soon.’ But the second time I thought ‘Aww, how sweet. They’re totally going to make it.’ So you can see that a third read is in order.

    Surprised you favorited “Sexy.” To me, that was the one story in Interpreter that fell flat.

    I agree with everything else you say. Her prose isn’t lyrical, it’s clear and relatively simple. But somehow it just flows so effortlessly and the final effect is just so beautiful.


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