Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

"Real Durwan" by Jhumpa Lahiri

"Real Durwan" by Jhumpa Lahiri (1999, 13 pages)

Short Stories of the Indian Subcontinent
A Reading Life Project
The Short Stories of Jhumpa Lahiri

After a bit of pondering I have decided to include my posts on the short stories of Jhumpa Lahiri as part of my project on Short Stories of the Indian Subcontinent.   She was born in England to parents from India and is a citizen of the USA.   Her stories are mostly about Indian immigrants to America.   I am currently reading her first collection of short stories, The Interpreter of Maladies and posting on the short stories in the work.    (There is some background information on her in my prior posts on her stories.)  Upon  completion of the nine stories in this collection, I will then read the stories in her second collection, The Unaccustomed Earth.   

"Real Durwan", from The Interpreter of Maladies, is the first story by Jhumpa Lahiri that I have read that does not deal with Indian immigrants.  I will just post briefly on it.   The central character is an old woman who works as a durwan in an apartment building in in India.   A durwan seeps the stairs in the building and keeps the common area clean and does whatever else the residents want of her.   She also serves as a kind of watch person.   The building is not in a fancy part of the city, the residents are all struggling to make a living.    The durwan is allowed to sleep where ever she can in the building, either on the stairs  or sometimes out on the yard or on the roof.   People give her food scraps to eat.    The durwan tells everyone about how she used to be very rich and live in total luxury.   People do not really believe her but no one cares enough about her to challenge her claim.   Something tragic happens in the story.

This is another very good story that takes us into the lives of ordinary people.

Mel u

1 comment:

Buried In Print said...

I've really enjoyed the short stories of hers that I've read; I find myself invested in their lives quickly, often because of the kinds of detail that the author chooses to include. Your reference to a tragic event in this one makes me curious!