This is an absolutely, freaking amazing collection of short stories. It was totally unexpected and a beautiful introduction into the world of Jhumpa Lahiri’s writing. I am completely obsessed now, and eagerly awaiting for The Namesake to arrive at my door. After all, if her short stories are this amazing, a full length novel is just going to be ten thousand times better!
Wow this was a tragic ending to a fantastic collection. Not just a brilliant collection, but it also ties out the stories started in Once in a Lifetime and Year’s End. I wanted a happily ever after. A riding off into the sunset ending, because, let’s face it, I’m kind of a child… and always want a happily ever after. But I didn’t get that. And at first I was incredibly annoyed. But then after a little while… I accepted it, and realised that this was actually kind of brilliant. Albeit seriously sad and depressing.
This story connects into Once in a Lifetime. It is about the boy that Hema admires from afar, and the reasons behind his weird behaviour. Actually, the whole behaviour of his family to hers. And the aftermath of his mother’s illness. It’s a haunting tale about trying to move on, but not quite being able to do it.
I thought that this was going to be a bit of a love story. From the title to the first statements of I remember when I first saw you… there was something incredibly romantic about this tale. It didn’t quite turn out that way. But there was still that beautiful, bittersweet nostalgia within the story. One that left me feeling happy and complete when I finally finished this tale.
My partner always says our relationship is nobody’s business. Which I completely agree with. Except. Except for things like this story, when Sang’s relationship very quickly did become Paul’s business. After all, he was in a no win situation where he kind of did need to say something. Or at least, that’s how I felt. His own emotions did kind of get in the way, but he was still placed in a position where he needed to deal with “nobody’s business”.
Family is difficult, complex and insane. Completely insane at times. Which is captured brilliantly in Only Goodness. Featuring two siblings and following them as they grow, change and navigate the adult world, there are moments of frightening familiarity, interwoven with a life that I have never experienced. It created a world that was surreal and known. One that I really enjoyed visiting.
Relationships aren’t always sunshine and roses. Whoever tells you that they are is either lying, completely delusional or still in the honeymoon stage of theirs. That’s not to say that relationships aren’t completely amazing, but there is a level of comfort and almost boredom that you reach after a point. One that isn’t glorified in stories, because it is this amazingly comfortable, well-loved and satisfied feeling. Which, in a rare case for the stories I read, Lahiri manages to do kind of perfectly.
Arranged marriages are something that I don’t understand and have never had first hand knowledge of. Which means that any story which features this are going to be completely fascinating. After all, I read because I want to understand the world and things around me better… so this story was completely fascinating. Impossible to put down and made me feel like I could understand the world around me a little better…
This is my first Lahiri story, and it’s making me wonder where her writing has been all my life. Her style of writing is incredibly accessible and open. And, although she’s dealing with a culture and people that I’ve had next to no experience with, the themes and issues are still prevalent in my life. Issues of growing and changing, seeing parents as their own grown entities.