Ha, forgot about this! Which sadly summarises my view on the author - absolutely lovely writer, empathic, moving and so on, but somehow not quite as memorable as I expected. Now that my memory was jogged I started thinking about the people in this short story collection again, an I do remember a lot about the characters, I can separate the different stories in my head and so on... yet it just wasn't the kind of book I thought about an awful lot when I'd finished it. That said, it's still quality writing. I'm absolutely going to read more of her. Just something not completely absorbing about it. It is her debut of course, I should read her more recent work.
It is refreshing to read about a "normal" India. By which I don't necessarily mean normal from a Western point of view "oh look they have indoor toilets and electricity in India too the darlings", but an India and Indians that are described matter-of-factly. Lahiri writes mostly about the middle-class, in other words the Indians we meet, the ones that travel and emigrate. I recognise myself and yet it's different. It's very good writing, I was just hoping for a little bit more. Maybe in the next one.
Incidentally (and what jogged my memory) I'm reading an Ellis Peters' novel set in India at the moment. She describes India in much the same way as she describes 12th century England - there is an air of aloofness and romanticism that removes the reader from the reality of what she is describing somewhat. This is part of her charm, oddly enough. In Death to the Landlords! the son of her hero Inspector George Felse, Dominic Felse, is travelling in India. The group of people he travels with cross paths with a terrorist bomber group, whose aim, simplified, is to kill land owners. Haven't finished it yet, so don't know if it will be one of his travelling companions who are guilty.
I think I've previously read Mourning Raga from the same series, also set in India. But now I can't find it in the library catalogue... maybe that just means they had to get rid of it. Pity.