Sunday, October 31, 2010

october book club review

First of all, thank you for allowing me to join in on the book club fun this month! When I saw that Molly had picked a book of short stories, I definitely wanted to read along. (Because Molly is so awesome and because short stories are less daunting than entire novels).

I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I began reading Interpreter of Maladies. I quickly discovered that Lahiri is very good at drawing you into her stories. I'm not a huge fan of fiction because many times it takes so long for the story to actually get started. Too often, you have to read through all the introductions of characters and story lines before it gets good. However, in each story Lahiri had me hooked by at least page two. And I wanted to keep reading every time!

What I really enjoyed about the stories in this collection was how realistic they are. If you know how I like my movies and books, you would know that I cannot stand predictable story lines or stories that always have a clean resolution or ending. This is precisely what I enjoyed about Interpreter of Maladies. In each case, the ending was either something unexpected or it simply ended without a clear resolution to the conflict.

*Spoiler Alert*
Of all the stories, my favorite was A Temporary Matter. At first I was a little upset with how it ended; mostly because I was wanting more! Like I said, I was so drawn into the story and the characters that I was taken aback when it ended so abruptly. I liked the story because I could relate personally to it more than any of the others.

My husband and I lost our first child late in pregnancy (although not as late as Shoba and Shukumar). While our loss brought my husband and I closer together, I can easily see how it could tear husband and wife apart as it did in this story. My heart ached for them with every page, and as they started to grow closer I started to feel joy. But in the end, I was disappointed with Shoba's ultimate decision, mostly because I know the other side of it. I know that if you work and communicate, the pain and suffering from such a loss can be overcome.

Overall, I came away from reading this collection without regretting the time I spent on it. That may sound harsh, but like I said, I'm very picky about the fiction I read. I was thoroughly entertained by each story and in most cases wanted more. I felt connections with the characters and in many cases felt their emotions right along with them. Lahiri is a great story-teller.

To read the other blogger's reviews of this book, click here.


  1. wonderful review! i like how you related it to your own life, though not in a happy way (i'm so sorry). but i see on your sidebar that you have a little one on the way!! congratulations and i wish you well :)

  2. i totally agree that everything just pulled the reader into the stories! i really liked how the descriptions made the exotic familiar and the everyday, interesting. thanks for joining us!

  3. Interesting to hear how "A Temporary Matter" hit close to home for you - when you find a book or story like that, it makes sense why you would like it. Although this whole book did NOT do anything for me (other than the few things I commented on in my post), I have experienced that with other books and know how special those are to me. Thanks for sharing!

  4. I'm so glad you don't regret reading it! Nicely written review. There's something special about Lahiri's ability to create relatable characters and unexpected stories. If you're interested she has another collection of short stories that's pretty spectacular too.

  5. I'm glad you participated this time around, and I hope you continue to do so! Maybe we can show you a few other fiction stories you feel are worthwhile? :)

    I'm glad you were able to relate to "A Temporary Matter", especially since it was the opposite reaction to a similar situation. I thought Shoba and Shukumar's story was one of the most heartbreaking, since it could have been so easily fixed. I was looking for a story of redemption, and I was a little shell-shocked to find the exact opposite. It was tragically beautiful, though.