HOW IT WORKS
Every month we read a book. On the selected day, we talk about it. (Generally the last Thursday of the month).
Join in for whatever books you can. Read what you want and comment on what you want. Some readers write their own review on their blog and then link up to it, others just write their thoughts in the comments- it’s up to you! If you write your own post and link up, please slap the image above on your post! Grazi!
+ What story did you like the most? The least?
+ The majority of the stories end without much resolution. Why do you think Lahiri does this? As a reader, did you like the way the stories ended or no?
+ Any characters in the stories who you especially related to? Any characters you hated?
+ What is the significance of the title, Interpreter of Maladies?
I think this is the hardest book review I’ve ever had to write. Leading up to writing this post I have thought over and over what I would say and nothing has come to mind. Like Tayler, my opinions are very jumbled and all over the place. These stories seem like the type where you need weeks and months to let them float around in your head before you decide what you think of them.
So I’ll tell you what I do know for sure about my feelings on these stories. When I first read these stories I was a senior in college and my roommate recommended the book to me. My sister in law, who lived in New Delhi, had also recommended the book. Both of these people are big readers and I trust their opinions on recommendations. So, I read the stories and I loved them. Six years later, that is basically all I can remember. (And can we not talk about how gross it is that I have been done with college for six years?)
I was excited to read the stories again. I only remembered details of the first story, A Temporary Matter, and even then I only remembered that it was about a couple who always ignored each other and then reconnected when their power went out. When I reread it, I was totally surprised to remember that the reason for their distance was that they had suffered a miscarriage together and he had not been there when it happened. It’s interesting to me that this very large part of the story faded from my memory whereas now I think it would be the thing that I most remembered. I felt much more deeply for this story and connected to it. I guess it is all just about time in life. As a senior in college this would have been a story about someone’s struggles who was very different from me. Now reading it, I could imagine it and feel it much more.
I keep thinking about Lahiri’s characters. I appreciate these short stories because the characters are so unlikeable. It’s easy to tell a good story when everyone likes the characters. But Lahiri’s characters are truly awful people- they have affairs, tell lies, ignore their wives, etc. But I was still interested in these people and I think that is a testament to Lahiri’s ability to tell a story. Somehow I cared and was interested in these people, even though I kind of hated them all. (Reminded me of my feelings about Great Gatsby characters.) As John Green says “I don’t know where people got the idea that characters in books are supposed to be likeable. Books are not in the business of creating merely likeable characters with whom you can have some simple identification. Books are in the business of creating great stories that make your brain go all like fhasofaosrhghibadaba!” Gotta love that John Green! (FYI: That quote is from his crash course on The Great Gatsby. If you like John Green or The Great Gatsby or people who talk really fast, I highly recommend you watch it.)
My favorite story was either A Temporary Matter or Sexy. I was very interested in the way Lahiri told Sexy– the way we saw Laxmi trying to comfort her cousin (whose husband was having an affair) and at the same time watched Lami’s best friend, Miranda, have an affair with a married man. I loved how we saw both sides of that. HOW COULD ANYONE HAVE AN AFFAIR WITH A MARRIED MAN? and then on the next page, Lahiri shows us exactly how.
Reading these short stories again, I can not say I liked them. Like Tayler said, they are mostly depressing and about unlikeable people. I would, however, definitely recommend the stories for their ability to challenge our ideas, to stretch the mind, and to analyze literature on a deeper level. I for sure want to do at least one of these stories with my AP class next year- just can’t decide which one.
Have any of you read The Namesake by Lahiri? I was interested enough in Interpreter of Maladies that I’m thinking about reading that this summer.
Alright, your turn! Add your thoughts! Tayler and I will be responding to every comment. If you wrote your own post, leave the link in the comments and we will for sure check it out. Let’s get this book talk started! And don’t forget June’s book is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn (Author of Gone Girl.) It is a mystery/suspense and should be perfect for some beach reading to get your summer rolling. That discussion will take place on June 25.
Go check it out!