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Pulitzer Book Club Inclusion Guide


"Interpreter of Maladies" by Jhumpa Lahiri



• Sacagawea on dollar coin
• Kathleen A McGrath first woman to command a U.S. Navy warship
• Closest Presidential election in U.S. history



Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London and raised in Rhode Island. She traveled to Calcutta with her parents throughout her childhood to visit extended family.


Featured Reader Wanted!

Featured Reader

– Share your key take-away about inclusion in this book in a sentence or two.
– Write a paragraph or two (up to 250 words) to describe your thoughts on exclusion/inclusion in the book, why you related or did not connect with the book, and why you think reading, inclusion and dialog about inclusion matter.
– Identify the name and website address of a cause you support with an inclusive mission.


Title story: Indian medical clinic interpreter stretches talent during tour guide side-hustle


Mrs. Das confesses to tour guide that one of her sons is not her husband’s.


At age 32 Lahiri was the Pulitzer’s youngest and first Indian American winner.
This debut novel was the first Pulitzer Fiction winner originally published in paperback.


A short short story collection of 198 pages; 26 pages for the title story.


Audience Awareness. Know who to ask for help and when to offer advice. Consider professional and life experience before you ask, respond or refer.


Storyteller is an Indian tour guide who has always lived in India and meets American family (foreigners with different world view) visiting their extended Indian family.


Puffed rice snack with a monkey-caution warning.


“Don’t you realize what it means for me to tell you?”


Car or tour bus on the way to a culturally significant site.


How do you decide who to ask for help?
When are you willing not to provide advice? What can you do instead of providing advice?
How does it feel to be an American visiting the country where your parents were born?
How is that different than being an immigrant in America?
Compare bigotry based on skin tone to bigotry based on race.


Go to an Indian restaurant and pretend you’ve just been to the Sun Temple at Konarak near Puri on the Odisha coastline in Indian. You’ve pretend stopped at the monastic dwellings facing one another on a defile (narrow gorge between hills) at Udayagiri on the way home. Reveal a secret to a stranger at the restaurant.


Planned movie adaptation of “Interpreter of Maladies” did not progress; irregularities with production financing triggered a lawsuit but not missing production funds.
2016 film: “The Namesake.”


“Unaccustomed Earth” (2008) is another Lahiri short story collection about the immigration experience and cultural assimilation. Advice seeking after years of secret keeping also happens in “Stone Diaries” when an old woman tells a man not to tell his mother he is gay.

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