Monday, February 1, 2010

Short Story Mondays: A Choice of Accommodations

Source: Unaccustomed Earth (Jhumpa Lahiri,2006)
Date read: 1/10 (#7)
Briefly: A young married couple tries to rekindle their relationship at the wedding of his former crush.

Afterthoughts: I listened to the audio version of this, which means I turned it on in my car when I was driving without my kids. At this rate it takes several weeks to finish a story--not the ideal listening scenario. Despite this, and despite the fact that Lahiri bounces through a series of flashbacks and summaries of previous events, Amit and Megan's story drew me back in every single time, and stuck with me long after it was done.

Lahiri is well known for bringing the East Indian-American experience to readers. A Choice of Accommodations is written from the point of view of an Indian-American character, but the character's ethnicity is secondary. This is a day-in-the-life-of-a-marriage story that transcends cultural differences.

Amit and Megan's young daughters never make an appearance in the story, and yet they are extremely present. In one section, Amit makes the social blunder of mentioning to another wedding guest that his marriage "disappeared" when their second daughter was born. He recalls how time alone became so precious to each of them during that overwhelming time, that it was coveted and nurtured far more than time as a couple. This has led this couple to where they are today--a weekend getaway, hoping to rediscover themselves individually and as a couple. Minor disasters ensue. Can this marriage be saved?


  1. I loved this story... and every other one in the book! Lahiri is one of the finest short story writers around today, I think. You're in for a treat as you make your way through this collection.

  2. I've not read and Lahiri yet, but I keep hearing good things.

    I know what you mean about audio stories taking a while in the car. I had a Stuart McLean story on CD in my car once and I just kept hearing the same first 5-10 minutes over and over. I had the first half memorized before even hearing the ending!

  3. I love Lahiri. I own a copy of Unaccustomed Earth but haven't had a chance to read any of the stories yet.

    This was my short:

  4. All of the stories in "Unaccustomed Earth" are wonderful. She's an incredibly talented writer. I hope you enjoy the rest of the book and pick up "Interpreter of Maladies" if you haven't already read it.

  5. Jhumpa Lahiri is a story teller with a magical touch. She weaves gold out of our straw life. I'm blessed to her.