Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (2000) 198 p.

interpreter.jpg

This sort of reminded me of the Nam Le short story ‘Love and Honor and Pity and Pride and Compassion and Sacrifice,’ set at the Iowa Writers Workshop and featuring an author surrogate whose compatriots keep encouraging him to steer into his ethnic heritage and write nothing but Vietnamese-Australian stories even though his imagination is limitless. Every single story in this collection is about either a) Bengalis, or b) Bengali-Americans at MIT.

Writing what you know is fine, but doesn’t it get tedious after a while? Anyway, these stories are all perfectly written and even memorable, but nothing contained in them stirred my heart in any way. Bonus points to ‘The Third and Final Continent,’ however, for being the rarest of things in contemporary fiction: a positive, optimistic and happy short story.