Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2000
With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide. The nine stories in this stunning debut collection unerringly chart the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.A blackout forces a young Indian American couple to make confessions that unravel their tattered domestic peace. An Indian-American girl recognizes her cultural identity during a Halloween celebration while the Pakastani civil war rages on television in the background. A latchkey kid with a single working mother finds affinity with a woman from Calcutta. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.
Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, these stories speak with passion and wisdom to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story, Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and a baffling new world.
"Moving and authoritative pictures of culture shock and displaced identity." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The crystalline writing in the nine stories of this Pulitzer Prize-winning debut collection dazzles. These sensitive explorations of the lives of Indian immigrants and expatriates touch on universal themes, making them at once specific and broad in their appeal. Narrator Matilda Novak's light voice is fine for stories written by a young woman, and the hint of melody in her reading is typical of Indian voices." (AudioFile)
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