From The Guardian:
Until fairly recently, Jhumpa Lahiri didn’t have much name recognition in this country. But in the US, where she grew up and lives, and in India, where her parents were born, she’s had star status since the beginning of her career. Her first story collection, Interpreter of Maladies (1999), which she finished not long after turning 30, won a string of awards that culminated in the Pulitzer prize for fiction. Her first novel, The Namesake (2003), was also well received and became a US bestseller; a less well received film of it by Mira Nair was released in 2006. Her marriage in Calcutta in 2001 to Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, a Guatemalan-American journalist, was given Hollywood-scale coverage by the local media, complete with paparazzi shots. And – unusually, to say the least, for a serious piece of writing, let alone a story collection – her new book, Unaccustomed Earth, went straight to the top of the New York Times fiction bestseller list.
One of the things that make Lahiri’s success in the marketplace all the more surprising is her lack of interest in either charming her readers with exoticism or dazzling them with a slick style. Unflashily written, long, almost grave in tone, her new stories patiently accumulate detail, only gradually building up a powerful emotional charge. And until not so long ago, her subject matter – the experiences of first and second-generation Bengali immigrants to the United States – would have been of marginal interest to most American readers.