“Why does the mind do such things? Turn on us, rend us, dig the claws in. If you get hungry enough, they say, you start eating your own heart. Maybe it’s much the same.”
Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin
Interpreter of Maladies
A short story collection by Jhumpa Lahiri
- Why you should read it: Lahiri does an exceptional job of writing quiet, melancholy stories about everyday life that anyone can relate to, no matter their circumstances. Her timing is perfect, as she weaves a collection of stories that slowly provide you with information about the characters and their motivations.
- In what context should you read this: Any. It’s a good summer read because it’s rather short and easy to read quickly.
- Things to look out for: The story ‘A Temporary Matter’ is my favorite and a piece that deserves to be lingered on.
- Follow ups: Lahiri has written several novels, if you’re interested in her writing.
“I used to think of my body as an instrument, of pleasure, or a means of transportation, or an implement for the accomplishment of my will. I could use it to run, push buttons, of one sort or another, make things happen. There were limits but my body was nevertheless lithe, solid, one with me. Now the flesh arranges itself differently. I’m a cloud, congealed around a central object, the shape of a pear, which is hard and more real than I am and glows red within its translucent wrapping. Inside it is a space, huge as the sky at night and dark and curved like that, though black-red rather than black. Pinpoints of light swell, sparkle, burst and shrivel within it, countless as stars. Every month there is a moon, gigantic, round, heavy, an omen. It transits, pauses, continues on and passes out of sight, and I see despair coming towards me like famine. To feel that empty, again, again. I listen to my heart, wave upon wave, salty and red, continuing on and on, marking time.”
Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale