Dear Great Book Guru, With the Martin Luther King weekend coming up, I would like to have something good to read. I am not usually a fan of short stories, but perhaps you have some unusually good ones to recommend. Reluctant Reader of Short Stories
Dear Reluctant Reader, I have a perfect solution for you: THE INTERPRETER OF MALADIES by Jhumpa Lahiri. This is Pulitzer Prize winner Lahiri’s first work- a collection of nine short stories, most set in either Boston or Bengal. Her characters have piercing moments of self-realization- epiphanies of sorts that eventually define their lives. The reader comes to recognize that each story contains a tiny, seemingly insignificant moment when everything shifts and lives are changed forever. A young couple cope with the death of an infant daughter, the Interpreter mentioned in the title learns a dark secret from a very unhappy woman, a couple enter an arranged marriage with great hesitation, a staid math professor marries the girl of his dreams named Twinkie only to soon regret his infatuation, a young boy is pampered by his Indian babysitter until a car accident ends their time together… Most were published in the New Yorker over a number of years, so each story stands on its own very well, but read together, you can see the book’s overall theme: there is deep meaning in the briefest of relationships. Highly recommended!