Roman Stories

Knopf Oct. 2023. 224p. tr. from Italian by Jhumpa Lahiri & Todd Portnowitz. ISBN 9780593536322. $27.
Here, Pulitzer Prize winner Lahiri offers a powerhouse collection of nine stories in three parts, originally written in Italian and translated by the author, with three exceptions, into English. This is a most impressive assemblage of stories that vary in length and start off quietly, perhaps sadly even, often providing wild twists and turns by each conclusion. In one, a married couple attends annual parties where the husband encounters a woman he cannot stop thinking about until he takes things too far, nearly ruining bonds both familial and friendly. In another, a mother, a widow, a wife, a girl, two brothers, and a screenwriter lead separate lives but share a single, uneven set of stairs. Lahiri’s style is unique, providing enumerations throughout many of the entries, allowing even the longest to read with little investment of time. On the contrary, even the shortest of the thought-provoking stories packs quite an intellectual and emotional wallop.
VERDICT Impressive and worthwhile.
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