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.
"Lahiri's characters are charmers....She breathes unpredictable life into the page, and the reader finishes each story reseduced, wishing he could spend a whole novel with its characters. There is nothing accidental about her success; her plots are as elegantly constructed as a fine proof in mathematics."
Caleb Crain, New York Times Book Review, 07/11/1999
"...Jhumpa Lahiri traces the lives of people on two continents--North America and India--and in doing so announces herself as a wonderfully distinctive new voice. Indeed, Ms. Lahiri's prose is so eloquent and assured that the reader easily forgets that INTERPRETER OF MALADIES is a young writer's first book."
Michiko Kakutani, New York Times, 08/06/1999