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June 29, 2014

Natural-born Storyteller: Jhumpa Lahiri

Text by Mala Vaishnav. Photo by Elena Seibert

She knows Greek and Latin, has written in Italian, and has won a Pulitzer prize. Jhumpa Lahiri makes it to Verve’s International Impact list this year for her latest novel, The Lowland

The Pulitzer Prize-winner, whose works have been compared to Anton Chekov, has garnered literary attention once again for her fourth book, a saga of two brothers bound by tragedy. While there have been mixed reactions to the tome, that range from being an overhyped expat novel meant for expat Calcuttans to a sweeping, addictive plot, most readers concur that the language is vintage Jhumpa – elegant, incisive and taut. In the running for the prestigious 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction (earlier known as the Orange Prize), the UK’s only annual book award for fiction written by a woman, The Lowland was also among those shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction. The soft-spoken writer, who recently revealed in an interview that the book took 16 years to germinate, currently lives in Rome with her family.

Has  studied: Greek and Latin. Written a short story in Italian.

Is frustrated by: The flowery book jackets when her books are anything but flowery.

Believes that: Writers can live without a fixed national identity because in the end human nature is their subject.

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