I read The Namesake last year after stumbling across a copy of it at a local used bookstore. Or…wait, was it one that my sister had sent me? No, I’m pretty sure it was one I had found and then learned from my sister while we were discussing it how much she had like it. It’s more of a Kim-book than a Katie-book, one filled with big thoughts to think and complicated bits of yarn to follow those thoughts around. I loved how rich the tone of the book was, and admired how someone so young could write with such depth about people of all ages and their complicated (and so very different) relationships with identity. I remember when we were discussing it, Kim told me I should read Lahiri’s book of short stories, Interpreter of Maladies. It was even better, she said. In fact, it won Ms. Lahiri the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. But short stories aren’t usually my thing. I get just a taste, and then feel robbed when the rest of my story is missing.
Kim got around my reticence quite nicely by giving me the book for Christmas.
Interpreter of Maladies finally came up in rotation. I have to admit, those stories did fit neatly as I burrowed into them just before bedtime. I was, once again, blown away by the sheer amount of talent Ms. Lahiri wielded; each word, each sentence felt orchestrated, each story vibrating with such gorgeous tones, each one different from the next. The voice of each story you could tell was written by the same author, but was so distinct from that in the last story that your mouth was almost left agape. How can she even do that?, I wondered. How can she create such gifts and not be a household name? To be a singular person and capture so many distinctive voices, perspectives, experiences and sell them so convincingly… and even more than that, the revelations she writes about… it’s as if Ms. Lahiri was a gifted therapist equipped with a camera that could capture the thoughts and memories of a wide selection of confidants. She tells stories of their best selves, their worst selves, and so many nooks and crannies in between. The common thread was that every single one of them moved me. 5 of 5 stars.