Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Short Story Wednesday: Sexy by Jhumpa Lahari


"Sexy"
from Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books, 1999)

This particular short story is about a woman who has an affair with a married man. He picks Miranda up in a department store. To her, Dev is exotic and charming. He woos her while his wife is out of town, making her feel sexy and beautiful. When the wife returns, however, their situation changes. Their dalliances are confined to her home on Sunday afternoons.

A coworker whose cousin's husband left her for a woman he met on an airplane talks nonstop on the phone to her family about her cousin's situation and Miranda cannot help but overhear. When the cousin and her young son come for a visit, Miranda is enlisted to babysit. That one visit proves to be an eye opener for Miranda.

Jhumpa Lahiri captures the various emotions that Miranda goes through--the thrill of the relationship, the rationalization that it is okay, and then the reality of the situation. Miranda longs for someone to love her, but the question is, is she willing to settle? The author continues to demonstrate what a gifted story teller she is.
After lunch they made love, on sheets covered with crumbs, and then Dev took a nap for twelve minutes. Miranda had never known an adult who took naps, but Dev said I was something he'd grown up doing in India, where it was so hot that people didn't leave their homes until the sun went down. "Plus it allows us to sleep together," he murmured mischievously, curving his arm like a big bracelet around her body.

Only Miranda never slept. [ pg 94]

© 2009, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.
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16 comments:

  1. I have actually never been a fan of short stories but I do own Interpreter of Maladies and now that your wrote about it I am more motivated to read it.

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  2. I am not a short story fan, but I did read both of Lahari's s.s. collections. She is one terrific author.

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  3. After A Temporary Matter, this was my favorite story in this collection.

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  4. I like this author...I need to read her other book!

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  5. Loved this one too. I'm not sure I could pick my favorite from this book, I was so taken with the whole package. I can't wait to read Unaccustomed Earth!

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  6. I'm still reading this book! What a talented author!

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  7. I was surprised at how much I liked this one. I usually can't feel for "the other woman", but that's what makes her such a great author. I always end up attached to her characters.

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  8. Oh, I remember that this story broke my heart. Lahiri is just unbelievably talented.

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  9. I remember this story being so very sad. I think it was one of the ones I liked best in this collection. I think I actually borrowed this book from the library long ago, and your reviews on these stories makes me want to go out and grab a copy of my own for the keeper shelf. Thanks!

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  10. This is only semi-related, but I never knew INTERPRETER OF MALADIES was a short story collection! I always thought it was a novel. Huh.

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  11. Nice to hear about good short stories. I don't read nearly enough of them.

    Harvee Book Dilettante

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  12. Oh I had this one in my hand at the recent library sale but had to put it back to make room for The Space Between Us. Next sale I'm definitely taking more cash!

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  13. I loved this book when I read it years ago. Some stories in it are really good. You chose a particularly interesting one!

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  14. I read and blogged on another story from this same collection, "Heaven and Hell" a few days ago-I thought the story was really brilliantly done-I plan now to read all of her work, hopefully this year-thanks for posting on this story-

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  15. Thank you for all your comments, everyone! I enjoyed this collection and am looking forward to reading the author's other short story collection.

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  16. i read this story really wonderful and talks great about humanity. i even wrote a critical analysis over it!!!

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