The notice informed them that it was a temporary matter: for five days their electricity would be cut off for one hour, beginning at eight P.M.

–(First line, “A Temporary Matter” by Jhumpa Lahiri)

The more I read Jhumpa Lahiri’s work, the more I absolutely love it. Now, having grown up on mystery books and romantic, sweeping French novels, that were, of course, written in flowery language, I’m all about some acrobatic prose. You know–the kind that walks tightropes and does somersaults, leaping at you from the page (see: anything by Salman Rushdie). However, Lahiri’s work is the exact opposite–quiet. Yet it’s by no means plodding, and in the span of a sentence can quietly break your heart.

“A Temporary Matter” is the first story I read by Lahiri. It’s from her first collection of stories, Interpreter of Maladies. Like much of her work, it starts off with a more or less ordinary occurrence before it quickly pulls you into the inner lives of the characters. And just when you think you know where it’s going, and you start pulling for the characters to win–it breaks your heart.

I highly recommend it.

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