Friday, 4 March 2011

The Purple Cow and... (Part II of II)

2. Interpreter of Maladies + Unaccustomed Ground by Jhumpa Lahiri

These are two different books. (So yes, I’m cheating haha.) But they are from the same author and both are swoon-worthy. These are the most lyrical, sigh-worthy, and easy to read collection of short stories I’ve read. Jhumpa’s first book, Interpreter of Maladies, won the Pulitzer Prize for short stories. But that shouldn’t discourage you from reading it. It is not weighed down by heavy language at all. And if by the time you’re done with Interpreter of Maladies, you’re still hungry for Ms. Lahiri’s lush words, then move on to her most recent work, Unnacustomed Earth. As much as I enjoyed Interpreter of Maladies, I love this second book more.

The beauty of Jhumpa’s characters are that they are ordinary. They are mostly people like us with seemingly normal lives and ticks, which is why one gets drawn to the tales so easily. Emphatise, that’s the word. Reading these stories, you can’t help but emphatise,

3. Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld

'I'd pretended it was about academics, but it never had been. . . . I imagined that if I left South Bend, I would meet a melancholy, athletic boy who liked to read as much as I did and on overcast Sundays we would take walks together wearing wool sweaters.'

I thought I’ve had it with coming-of-age novels. I come from the generation who loved Caulden Haulfield (Catcher in The Rye) . So it surprised me that I liked, no, loved Prep.
Prep is a breezy read. It is a perfect summer book. One you can bring on vacation. A title to read while basking in the sun (or in my case, keeping warm while the temperature drops to freezing outside).

It is about life at Ault, a boarding school in Mass. told from the point of view of Lee, a bright, albeit confused scholarship student.
It traces four years of her life at Ault. From being a naïve and utterly uptight freshman, to her first brush with sex, to realizations about the rich, the pedigreed and making peace with her roots.

It is not so much the things that happen in the book that lifts this out of the usual heap of teen/chick lits, it’s how Lee’s voice seems so real, raw even, sometimes bordering on naïve. And as a reader, there are times I wanted to bop her in the head for her cowardness, but that’s the beauty of this small gem. It transports you wholly, to Ault.

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