I first met Jhumpa in 2008 when I interviewed her in a public event at the San Jose Museum of Art. We quickly found that we shared an ongoing love (and erstwhile scholarly pursuit) of Renaissance English drama. She pursued it big-time, as a graduate student, I merely as a college undergraduate. But we bonded over Jacobean masques; and so it was that I have now interviewed her over the past few years in numerous locales (the black-and-white photo is in Santa Fe), and I will happily sit down with her again on October 11 in San Francisco’s refurbished Nourse Auditorium for City Arts & Lectures. The event benefits the education programs at 826 Valencia. I am looking forward to our continuing conversation, which we get to conduct with a bunch of other people listening in. Maybe you’ll join us?
Jhumpa Lahiri has made a well-deserved name for herself (and snagged a Pulitzer Prize) with her two collections of short stories, which are among the more sublime prose offerings of the last 20 years. Her most recent collection, Unaccustomed Earth, featured a set of interlocking stories in the second half that inched ever closer to being a novella rather than an independent trio of stories. So I am thrilled, but not surprised, that her forthcoming publication, The Lowland, is a full-fledged novel, her first since The Namesake, which many will remember from its film version. As with her previous work, The Lowland examines the lives and yearnings of families divided between India and the U.S.; her storytelling is at once intimate and powerful. The new novel has already been included in the long list for this year’s Booker Prize in the U.K. [Update Sept. 10: it's now one of six shortlist finalists!]