Monday, April 14, 2008

Jhumpa Lahiri on the Short Story

Jhumpa Lahiri on the short story:

In the wider world, there is a terrible hierarchy that people have between stories and novels. There is a sense that bigger is better and smaller is a diminutive, lesser thing. It's maddening to me because I don't understand it. I just think that if one is a serious reader of fiction, that argument doesn't really hold very much water because some of the most remarkable works of fiction are short.

To read the rest of Vit Wagner's interview with Jhumpa Lahiri in today's Toronto Star, click here.


Andi said...

Wow! I think I'm one of those people who makes comments like that about short stories.

Thanks for this link, Kate.

Seachanges said...

The more I read short stories, the more I appreciate them. They are so much more difficult to write well!

Veronica Mitchell said...

I am surprised at how many short stories I remember from my childhood. The emotional impact of a short story can be just as strong as a novel.

john baker said...

Certainly a short story is more difficult to write. I believe stories are closer to poetry than they are to the novel.
Not inferior. No, never.

Jodie said...

Hello I write for a bookzine called Estella's Revenge ( and I was hoping you might be able to help me pull together a feature for our 'Travel' issue. I'm popping around various international reading challenges and asking the organisers to tell me what are the best books they have encountered so far in their challenge experience. I would love it if you could let me know what some of your favourite challenge reads have been for the 'Orbis Terrarum' challenge have been and perhaps provide a short sentence about why you have enjoyed them so much.

The goal of this investigation is to get 80 books from around the world into this feature and so go 'Around the World in 80 books' (kind of dorky I know but also kind of fun).

If you'd like to participate please send me your choices at bakerjodie at googlemail dot com by 24th April. If you'd like it would be wonderful if you could ask those taking part in the challenge to help out as well.

Jodie said...

Agh I meant 'Reading Across Borders' challenge obviously. That's where a copy and paste job gets you - you end up doing it in real life as well.

ravenousreader said...

I used to feel this way about short stories - but thanks largely to Jhumpa (and to you, for the Short Story Challenge) I'm changing my mind.

Have you read Unaccustomed Earth, Lahiri's new collection? It's awesome!

monster paperbag said...

I absolutely agree with this. Less is definitely more, i.e. Hemingway. I also love Lahiri's writing, I'm a huge fan of her stories.