A story for July
Lahiri’s short fiction collection Interpreter of Maladies is so beautiful and elegant, but I’ve chosen ‘Whereabouts’ for this list.
Presented as a novel, I prefer to see the book as a series of vignettes. Over a year, an unnamed woman wanders in an unnamed European city. Each chapter is named after a location she’s visited: from the coffee bar to the supermarket, book shop to bed, her balcony to the sea. The primary relationship is between the protagonist and the place she lives. They’re in constant conversation.
‘In the Sun’ describes one of the first warm days of summer:
“A splendid Saturday…a dash of elegance to how people dress: the bold shade of a jacket, a bright scarf, the tight lines of a dress… the piazza becomes a beach on days like this, and a sense of well-being, of euphoria, permeates the air.”
Taken from Whereabouts, Bloomsbury, 2021. An extract from the book is available to read online here