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Sunday, July 11, 2021

'Writing Stories As A Recorder'

 “I approach writing stories as a recorder. I think of my role as some kind of reporting device - recording and projecting.”  Jhumpa Lahiri


Born on this date in 1967, Lahiri is an Indian-American author and creative writing professor (at Princeton).  After years of struggling to get even one story published, she finally broke through in 1999 and within a year had a collection that was worthy enough to not only be published – the startling Interpreter of Maladies – but to win the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction.  It is one of the few story “collections” ever so-honored.

Her novel The Namesake is equally wonderful.   It’s one of those books that you quietly curse under your breath as you realize it’s already 2 in the morning and you should be asleep.  And, if you don’t have time to read it, find the film (by the same name).  It’s a great adaptation. 
                      Lahiri, who is the first Indian-American to serve
 on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities,      
 keeps busy with both teaching and writing, turning out terrific short stories.  Her novel The Lowland is another “must read” for those who want to “know” the modern-day U.S. immigrant experience.  It was a nominee for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award. 
“In fiction, plenty (of words) do the job of conveying information, rousing suspense, painting characters, enabling them to speak," she said.  "But only certain sentences breathe and shift about, like live matter in soil."

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