ELSEWHERE: Jhumpa Lahiri’s World
I’ve been a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing ever since reading her debut collection, Interpreter of Maladies. She has a new novel, The Lowland, coming out, and so the New York Times has featured a brief but intriguing interview with her. Turns out she shares my love of Thomas Hardy, but also of Flannery O’Connor and C. S. Lewis’s Narnia. Born in London of Bengali Indian parents, but a longtime resident of the American northeast, Lahiri’s thoughts on “immigrant fiction” are particularly interesting.
I am also a fan of Jhumpa Lahiri, though I must admit that I did not enjoy The Lowland as much as I have enjoyed her other works. (I was able to read an advance copy through Goodreads.) I have reread her other works and probably will do so again, but, at least right now, I don’t see myself rereading this new novel. First, I think Lahiri is a better author of short stories than novels (though I did enjoy The Namesake), and second, I had a harder time connecting with the characters in this novel than in The Namesake. That said, one of the things I love most about Lahiri is her writing style (sparse, yet so detailed about the smallest actions), and that is on display again in The Lowland. My favorite line from this interview: “Literature has always been and will forever be my only form of self-help.” Amen.
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