Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Short Story Wednesday: This Blessed House by Jhumpa Lahiri


"This Blessed House"
from Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Mariner Books, 1999)

Twinkle and her husband, Sanjeev, have recently moved into a new house. In hidden corners of cabinets, behind pipes and even out in the yard, Twinkle uncovers Christian paraphernalia, whether it be a figure of Jesus, a statue of Mary or a postcard of a saint. Sanjeev grows more annoyed with her findings, especially after she tells him she wants to keep it all. They are not Christians, he reminds her. That doesn't stop her from growing attached to the items.

Sanjeev and Twinkle hadn't known each other long before getting married and have only been married 2 months. Sanjeev finds himself easily irritated with Twinkle and they argue often. The story explores the nuances of their relationship, their differences and what brought them together but also keeps them apart. This particular story reads like a slice of life of the two main characters, a glimpse into their present and a foretelling of what may be. Lahiri continues to capture the nuances of relationships and a person's inner struggles in this short story. It's no wonder she won a Pulitzer prize.
They discovered the first one in a cupboard above the stove, beside an unopened bottle of malt vinegar.

"Guess what I found." Twinkle walked into the living room, lined from end to end with taped-up packing boxes waving the vinegar in one hand and a white porcelain effigy of Christ, roughly the same size as the vinegar bottle, in the other. [pg 136]

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

  1. I really loved this one. Of course I loved them all, but this particular one sticks in my head.

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  2. Interesting that she wanted to keep them even though she wasn't Christian. I couldn't imagine being married to pretty much a stranger though. I'm glad you enjoyed this! Even if she did win a Pulitzer Prize, I'm ashamed to say I have never heard of this author before.

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  3. I'm always fascinated to imagine the difficulty in adjusting to a marriage with someone you barely know.

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  4. No wonder indeed! She's such a talented and perceptive writer. I need to get my hands on her newest collection.

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  5. I'd forgotten all about this story, and I remember loving it now. I'm kicking myself for not buying a remaindered copy of Unaccustomed Earth over the weekend so I could continue reading more of her short stories.

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  6. I just discovered Lahiri last year and was blown away but all that she can do in a short story. I first read "Unaccustomed Earth" and then "Interpreter of Maladies." This was a good story ... perhaps even one of the lighter ones despite the theme of the marriage of "strangers."

    What a great idea to highlight the stories one by one!

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  7. Wendy, thanks for another great book recommendation. I am putting this one on my wish list. I can't wait to read it.

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  8. So I had this in my hands at the last library sale but put it back down again when I "had" to have something else and funds were limited to the cash in my pocket. I wonder if by any chance it will be still there at this quarter's sale? I may have to be there at the opening on Friday!

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  9. the more of these mini reviews that I read, the more it comes to my attention just how much I have forgotten from this collection. Must rectify this soon!!

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  10. I love these posts because I get a chance to visit those stories again. I need to get to my copy of Unaccustomed Earth.

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  11. this is one of my favorite stories in the book!

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  12. Thank you everyone for your comments! I really appreciate you taking the time to drop by.

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  13. An interesting subject touched and described in an intelligent manner. Marriages like this are so common. I've seen a lot.

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