Interpreter Of Maladies
eBook - ePub

Interpreter Of Maladies

Jhumpa Lahiri

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  1. 208 pagine
  2. English
  3. ePUB (disponibile sull'app)
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eBook - ePub

Interpreter Of Maladies

Jhumpa Lahiri

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With a new foreword by Domenico Starnone, this stunning debut collection flawlessly charts the emotional journeys of characters seeking love beyond the barriers of nations and generations.

With accomplished precision and gentle eloquence, Jhumpa Lahiri traces the crosscurrents set in motion when immigrants, expatriates, and their children arrive, quite literally, at a cultural divide.

A blackout forces a young Indian American couple to make confessions that unravel their tattered domestic peace. An Indian American girl recognizes her cultural identity during a Halloween celebration while the Pakastani civil war rages on television in the background. A latchkey kid with a single working mother finds affinity with a woman from Calcutta. In the title story, an interpreter guides an American family through the India of their ancestors and hears an astonishing confession.

Imbued with the sensual details of Indian culture, these stories speak with passion and wisdom to everyone who has ever felt like a foreigner. Like the interpreter of the title story, Lahiri translates between the strict traditions of her ancestors and a baffling new world.

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IT WAS A WIFE’S WORST NIGHTMARE. After nine years of marriage, Laxmi told Miranda, her cousin’s husband had fallen in love with another woman. He sat next to her on a plane, on a flight from Delhi to Montreal, and instead of flying home to his wife and son, he got off with the woman at Heathrow. He called his wife, and told her he’d had a conversation that had changed his life, and that he needed time to figure things out. Laxmi’s cousin had taken to her bed.
Somehow, without the wife there, it didn’t seem so wrong. At first Miranda and Dev spent every night together, almost. He explained that he couldn’t spend the whole night at her place, because his wife called every day at six in the morning, from India, where it was four in the afternoon. And so he left her apartment at two, three, often as late as four in the morning, driving back to his house in the suburbs. During the day he called her every hour, it seemed, from work, or from his cell phone. Once he learned Miranda’s schedule he left her a message each evening at five-thirty, when she was on the T coming back to her apartment, just so, he said, she could hear his voice as soon as she walked through the door. “I’m thinking about you,” he’d say on the tape. “I can’t wait to see you.” He told her he liked spending time in her apartment, with its kitchen counter no wider than a breadbox, and scratchy floors that sloped, and a buzzer in the lobby that always made a slightly embarrassing sound when he pressed it. He said he admired her for moving to Boston, where she knew no one, instead of remaining in Michigan, where she’d grown up and gone to college. When Miranda told him it was nothing to admire, that she’d moved to Boston precisely for that reason, he shook his head. “I know what it’s like to be lonely,” he said, suddenly serious, and at that moment Miranda felt that he understood her—understood how she felt some nights on the T, after seeing a movie on her own, or going to a bookstore to read magazines, or having drinks with Laxmi, who always had to meet her husband at Alewife station in an hour or two. In less serious moments Dev said he liked that her legs were longer than her torso, something he’d observed the first time she walked across a room naked. “You’re the first,” he told her, admiring her from the bed. “The first woman I’ve known with legs this long.”
At work the following week, Laxmi told Miranda that it wasn’t the first time her cousin’s husband had had an affair. “She’s decided to let him come to his senses,” Laxmi said one evening as they were getting ready to leave the office. “She says it’s for the boy. She’s willing to forgive him for the boy.” Miranda waited as Laxmi shut off her computer. “He’ll come crawling back, and she’ll let him,” Laxmi said, shaking her head. “Not me. If my husband so much as looked at another woman I’d change the locks.” She studied the picture tacked to her cubicle. Laxmi’s husband had his arm draped over her shoulder, his knees leaning in toward her on the bench. She turned to Miranda. “Wouldn’t you?”
While Dev was at the airport, Miranda went to Filene’s Basement to buy herself things she thought a mistress should have. She found a pair of black high heels with buckles smaller than a baby’s teeth. She found a satin slip with scalloped edges and a knee-length silk robe. Instead of the pantyhose she normally wore to work, she found sheer stockings with a seam. She searched through piles and wandered through racks, pressing back hanger after hanger, until she found a cocktail dress made of a slinky silvery material that matched her eyes, with little chains for straps. As she shopped she thought about Dev, and about what he’d told her in the Mapparium. It was the first time a man had called her sexy, and when she closed her eyes she could still feel his whisper drifting thr...

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