Jhumpa Lahiri


Manage episode 292038644 series 1301230
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Elizabeth Day talks to the writer Jhumpa Lahiri, whose latest novel, Whereabouts, was originally written in Italian, a language she learned in her 40s. Whereabouts tells the story of an unnamed middle-aged woman who meanders through a Northern Italian city, sharing her observations on everything from having a manicure to walking a friend’s dog. Lahiri builds up a mosaic of such moments, interspersing them with deeper glimpses into the woman’s relationship with her parents and the sudden death of her father when she was 15. Jhumpa Lahiri has long been interested in themes of dislocation and belonging, the daughter of Bengali immigrants who moved to New York, her first book, The Interpreter of Maladies, was a short story collection which won a Pulitzer Prize. The programme also explores the life and writing of the English mid century writer Barbara Pym. Best known for her novels, Excellent Women, Jane and Prudence, and A Glass of Blessings, Pym created sharp observational comedies in which little happens, but a great deal is conveyed. Paula Byrne has written an illuminating new biography, The Adventures of Miss Pym, and talks to Elizabeth about the connections between her tumultuous life and her writing, and they are joined by the writer and lifelong Pym fan, Philip Hensher.

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