Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide

By Guiyou Huang | Go to book overview

JHUMPA LAHIRI (1967-)

Shuchen Susan Huang


♦ BIOGRAPHY

Of Bengali immigrant parents, Jhumpa Lahiri was born in London in 1967. Two years later, her family immigrated to the United States. She grew up in South Kingston, Rhode Island, where her father worked as a librarian and her mother taught Bengali at a university. Like many children of immigrant households, Lahiri spoke Bengali to her parents at home. Her knowledge of the language made easy her stay in Calcutta, where her parents took her and her younger sister for long visits during her youth. She did not feel like a typical tourist in India in part because she spoke the language and in part because her family always stayed in the homes of their extended families. But she was also aware that she was perceived by the local people to be different. In an interview, Lahiri admits that she is indeed “indebted to [her] travels to India for several of the stories” (Aguiar) in her debut book, Interpreter of Maladies (1999). Though Lahiri speaks Bengali, English is really her first language in terms of writing. She started writing fiction when she was seven. In grade school, she collaborated with her friends in writing stories during recess. In high school, she wrote for the school newspaper, but did not compose fiction. In college, although she attended several writing workshops, she did not feel confident in writing stories.

Lahiri took a winding road to become a writer. After receiving her B.A. from Barnard College, she applied to several graduate schools but was rejected by all. While waiting to apply again, she worked as a research assistant at a non-profit institution in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The job gave her full access to a computer, which she discovered to be an excellent tool for writing. She came in early and stayed late in order to write. Eventually, she accumu-

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Asian American Short Story Writers: An A-to-Z Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • Acknowledgments xi
  • Introduction - The Asian American Short Story—the Cases of Sui Sin Far, Yamamoto, and Penaranda xiii
  • Peter Bacho (1950-) 1
  • Himani Bannerji (1942-) 5
  • Susham Bedi (1945-) 11
  • Cecilia Manguerra Brainard (1947-) 17
  • Carlos Bulosan (1911-1956) 23
  • Jeffery Paul Chan (1942-) 31
  • G.S.Sharat Chandra (1938-2000) 39
  • Diana Chang (1934-) 45
  • Frank Chin (1940-) 51
  • Susan Choi (1969-) 61
  • Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (1956-) 65
  • Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton) (1865-1914) 73
  • Winnifred Eaton (1875-1954) 85
  • Jessica Hagedorn (1949-) 93
  • Gish Jen (1956-) 101
  • Ha Jin (1956-) 109
  • Lonny Kaneko (1939-) 115
  • Alex Kuo (1939-) 119
  • Jhumpa Lahiri (1967-) 125
  • Andrew Lam (1963-) 135
  • Evelyn Lau (1971-) 141
  • Chang-Rae Lee (1965-) 147
  • Don Lee (1959-) 151
  • Monfoon Leong (1916-1964) 155
  • Russell Leong (1950-) 159
  • Shirley Geok-Lin Lim (1944-) 167
  • David Wong Louie (1954-) 173
  • Darrell H.Y.Lum (1950-) 177
  • Rohinton Mistry (1952-) 183
  • Shani Mootoo (1958-) 189
  • Toshio Mori (1910-1980) 195
  • Bharati Mukherjee (1940-) 203
  • Fae Myenne Ng (1956-) 215
  • Hualing Nieh (1925-) 225
  • Susan Nunes (1943-) 237
  • Gary Pak (1952-) 243
  • Ty Pak (1938-) 251
  • Nahid Rachlin (1947-) 257
  • Raja Rao (1908-) 263
  • Patsy Sumie Saiki (1915-) 269
  • Bienvenido N. Santos (1911-1996) 273
  • Kathleen Tyau (1947-) 281
  • JosÉ Garcia Villa (1908-1997) 287
  • Sylvia A.Watanabe (1953-) 295
  • Hisaye Yamamoto (Desoto) (1921-) 303
  • Lois-Ann Yamanaka (1961-) 317
  • Karen Tei Yamashita (1951-) 327
  • Wakako Yamauchi (1924-) 333
  • John Yau (1950-) 337
  • Selected Bibliography 345
  • Index 349
  • About the Editor and Contributors 355
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