Intepreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
This book. This.freaking.book. Lahiri accomplished the incredible feat of making me feel that I'd lived each story. And I'm a white chick from suburban Connecticut. She wrote these tales in a way that made me feel like I had experienced these moments... that they were a part of my story too. From the first word, she had me. Not even the first sentence... the first WORD.
While it's a collection of short stories, you'll find yourself just as engaged and entranced as you would with a traditional novel. Usually I can read one story and set the collection aside for another time. Not so with Interpreter of Maladies. I had to READ ALL THE STORIES!!!
Navigating between the Indian traditions they've inherited and the baffling new world, the characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's elegant, touching stories seek love beyond the barriers of culture and generations. In "A Temporary Matter," published in The New Yorker, a young Indian-American couple faces the heartbreak of a stillborn birth while their Boston neighborhood copes with a nightly blackout. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession. Lahiri writes with deft cultural insight reminiscent of Anita Desai and a nuanced depth that recalls Mavis Gallant. She is an important and powerful new voice.