Friday, May 02, 2008

I am through with Jhumpa Lahiri

I loved "The Interpreter of Maladies" and even though the woes-of-the-Bengali-diaspora theme began to wear thin, enjoyed the lucid prose in "The Namesake". In parts of "An Unaccustomed Earth", Lahiri seemed capable of breaking free from the mould that she has cast herself in. But she fails pretty spectacularly and that is my biggest complaint against her otherwise beautiful writing. Most writers carve a niche for themselves - Marquez for instance, wrote about mostly the Latin world. But his themes transcended his locales, didn't stop anyone from connecting with his characters and the worlds they inhabited. The ethnicity of his people added colour and potency to his stories, but was never the story in itself. A point that Lahiri would do well to remember!

I am not saying that "An Unaccustomed Earth" is not an engrossing read (ask my hubby about it!). In a couple of stories, the lead character's Bengali roots do not get in the way of the story. But Lahiri fails to rise above her own limitations, just like her characters always fail to rise above themselves. "Hema and Kaushik" was the biggest disappointment - this lacks the subtlety that graces most of Lahiri's writing. Critics have gone gaga over the book, but I think I've read all the Jhumpa Lahiri I need to read.


Sri said...

man - u seem to be having so much of energy to manage work, home and still have time for ur hobbies. Whats your secret of energy D?

Diviya said...

Not as much as I would like to. Poga poga theriyum :)