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Unaccustomed Earth & Interpreter of Maladies

Two novels by Jhumpa Lahiri that focus on Indian-American families. They are both composed of short stories that focus on family; with many topics from marital difficulties, children, cultural differences, arranged marriages. They are so good. The stories are so perfect; in total there are 17 stories and each is as good as the one before it. Interpreter of Maladies won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2000 and Unaccustomed Earth: Stories was the New York Times' Book Review best book of the year in 2008. Obviously, these two books are both highly acclaimed works of fiction. I think it is because of the way Lahiri emotionally gets her point across in a story in such a short period of time. What takes full-length novels at least a quarter of the book to get the reader attached to the protagonist, it takes Lahiri two or three pages. Which I think is incredible, and hope to emulate in my own short story writing. Both Interpreter of Maladies and Unaccustomed Earth highlight the difficulties many first generation immigrants have, bridging the cultural gap between America and India. "Lahiri's stories show the diasporic struggle to keep hold of culture as characters create new lives in foreign cultures." (source) Lahiri also wrote a full-length novel, The Namesake, which is the same storyline as her short stories (Bengali immigrants in America) but expanded. It was just as good as her short stories, and like her short stories, examines first-generation Indian-Americans and their struggles combining their parents' way of life with their peers. It was made into a movie, which I have not seen yet. Interpreter and Earth are two very moving collections of short stories, and I highly recommend going to read one, or both, as soon as you get the chance! Rating: ★★★★★

Island Beneath the Sea

This Is Where I Leave You