Jhumpa Lahiri Archive

Sudden, Gradual Change

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I had been trying to get my 4-year-old daughter to put her face in the water at the pool for two years before she just suddenly did it one day—one night, really, near the end of this summer, the light dying, the rest of us standing poolside with our

Round-Up: Merriam-Webster, Liu Yongbiao, and White House Arts Committee

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From Merriam-Webster’s new Time Traveler project to the resignations of the remaining members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, here’s the latest in literary news.

Jhumpa Lahiri’s “Hema and Kaushik”: Love Across Borders

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When I first read Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri’s long short story “Hema and Kaushik,” I lived in suburban Mumbai, where I often sat in darkness by the window at night all by myself. In Koparkhairane, twenty-four miles from downtown Mumbai, power outages were common.

Home Is a Complicated Thing

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In Jhumpa Lahiri’s stories, immigrants live in a world defined by language, its possibilities, its dead-ends. The legal and political aspects of immigration don’t appear to be the biggest cause of trouble for the characters. Language, however, that first branch of culture, is another matter: characters must continuously code-switch,

Writing in a Non-Native Language: Choosing Whom to Love

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During my adolescence, I fell in love with a language before I fell in love with a human being. In high school, in India, a former colony of the British, I came to like – and then love – the English language. The first words I had learned as

Big Picture, Small Picture: Context for Jhumpa Lahiri’s Interpreter of Maladies

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His voice a thin radio rasp, Neil Armstrong coaches Buzz Aldrin down the ladder of the Lunar Module. “It’s about a three footer,” he says of that last step to the chalky surface below. The second man on the moon leaps from the final rung and lands buoyantly.

Immigrant Fiction: Treading the Narrow Path

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I remember my first years in America from the early 1990s. I was a graduate student of journalism at the University of South Carolina, in Columbia, S.C., where I was still finding my feet in the U.S., full of wonder and curiosity—and apprehension. One semester at the university, after

Round-Down: Extra! Extra! Paper Lives!

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Despite the endless negative news reports and doomsday forecasts regarding the rise of eBooks at the expense of paper books, recent studies and reports vindicate those of us who prefer pulp to pixels. According to the American Booksellers Association, independent booksellers are continuing to add new stores, which means there

We Have Something to Say

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Inside most classrooms lives a beast, many-eyed. If you’ve been a student in a classroom, especially in those early grades when a year lasts an eon, you’ve been part of this beast. You saw your elementary-school teachers with a collective, sharpened vision (their combovers, fluffy perms, paunches, thick, magnifying

The Ploughshares Round Down: Short Stories as a Path to Literary Success

I’m going to let you in on a little secret about the submissions in my slush pile. When one comes in, the first thing I do–before I have even read the first sentence of the letter–is skim it for the name of a publication I recognize. If I don’t