This is Jhumpa’s first short-story collection after the 2008 Unaccustomed Earth
In ‘The Boundary’, one family vacations in the Roman countryside, though we see their lives through the eyes of the caretaker’s daughter, who nurses a wound from her family’s immigrant past. In ‘P’s Parties’, a Roman couple, now empty nesters, finds comfort and community with foreigners at their friend’s yearly birthday gathering-until the husband crosses a line.
And in ‘The Steps’, on a public staircase that connects two neighbourhoods and the residents who climb up and down it, we see Italy’s capital in all of its social and cultural variegations, filled with the tensions of a changing city: visibility and invisibility, random acts of aggression, the challenge of straddling worlds and cultures, and the meaning of home.
These are splendid, searching stories, written in Jhumpa Lahiri’s adopted language of Italian and seamlessly translated by the author and by Knopf editor Todd Portnowitz.
About the Author
Jhumpa Lahiri, a bilingual writer and translator, is the Millicent C. McIntosh Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at Barnard College (Columbia University). She received the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Interpreter of Maladies, her debut story collection. She is also the author of The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth and The Lowland, which was a finalist for both the Man Booker Prize and the National Book Award in fiction.
Since 2015, Lahiri has been writing fiction, essays and poetry in Italian: In Altre Parole (In Other Words), Il Vestito dei libri (The Clothing of Books), Dove mi trovo (self-translated as Whereabouts), Il quaderno di Nerina and Racconti romani. She has translated three novels by Domenico Starnone and is the editor of The Penguin Classics Book of Italian Short Stories, which was published in Italy as Racconti Italiani. Lahiri received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2014, and in 2019 she was named Commendatore of the Italian Republic by President Sergio Mattarella.