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Interpreter of Maladies

Jhumpa Lahiri

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Jhumpa Lahiri | Biography


Early Life and Education

Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London on July 11, 1967. Her parents had immigrated to England from Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in the region of Bengal in eastern India. Like the narrator in Lahiri's story "The Third and Final Continent," her parents then relocated from the United Kingdom to the United States, where her father took a job as a librarian.

Lahiri graduated from Barnard College in New York City. She then attended Boston University for graduate studies, earning several master's degrees and then a doctorate in Renaissance studies.

Literary Success

In 1999 Lahiri published her first work of fiction, the short story collection Interpreter of Maladies. Her book was a critical and commercial success, earning her the Pulitzer Prize in fiction and the PEN/Hemingway Award. Four years later, Lahiri published The Namesake, a novel that traces the fortunes of an Indian family who relocates to the United States. A film adaptation of the book premiered in 2007.

Recent Work

In 2008 Lahiri published a second short story collection entitled Unaccustomed Earth. Once again, her major themes and characters involved immigration, assimilation, communication, and cultural differences. This collection reached the best-seller list of the New York Times. In 2013 Lahiri's novel The Lowland focused on the contrasting experiences of two brothers, one living in India and the other in the United States. This work became a finalist for the National Book Award and was shortlisted for England's Man Booker Prize, a highly prestigious award for fiction. In 2016 Lahiri published a nonfiction chronicle entitled In Other Words, recounting her decision to immerse herself in Italian, both oral and written, with a special focus on how writing in an acquired language affected her style.

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