Analysis of Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri

Title: Interpreter of Maladies

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri

Context: Interpreter of Maladies (1999) is a post colonial novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. It is a collection of nine short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri an American author of Indian origin. The novel is winner of the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. The story is about characters navigating between the perplexing new world and traditions inherited by them in India. The touching stories look for love beyond the barriers of generations and culture.

Synopsis: In one of the stories, ‘A Temporary Matter’ a young Indian-American couple experiences crushing anguish on the birth of their stillborn child while their neighborhood in Boston faces a nightly blackout.

In the title story an American family is guided by the interpreter all through places in India where their ancestors lived and in the process hear a confession that astonishes them completely. The author Jhumpa Lahiri writes the novels with subtle depth distinction in expression and her deft cultural insight.

The novel is narrated from limited point of view of a third person. Perceptions of Mr. Kapasi’s perceptions but not of rest of the characters are revealed by the objective narrator. The author limits the scope of knowledge of the reader about the Das family and stresses more on the disconnection between Mr. Kapasi and Mrs. Das, by using this point of view.

Other works by the Author:


2003 – The Namesake

2013 – The Lowland

2018 – Dove mi trovo (Italian)

Short Fiction Collections

1999 - Interpreter of Maladies

  • A temporary Matter
  • When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine
  • Interpreter of Maladies
  • A Real Durwan
  • Sexy
  • Sen’s
  • This Blessed House
  • The Treatment of Bibi Haldar
  • The Third and Final Continent

2008 – Unaccustomed Earth

  • Unaccustomed Earth
  • Hell-Heaven
  • A Choice of Accommodations
  • Only Goodness
  • Nobody’s Business
  • Once In A Lifetime
  • Year’s End
  • Going Ashore

Uncollected short fiction

  • 2013 – Brotherly Love
  • 2018 – The Boundary

Nonfiction Books

  • 2016 – In Other Words
  • 2016 – The Clothing of Books

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