Jhumpa Lahiri, author of Interpreter of Maladies and The Namesake, writes in the New Yorker about her path to becoming a writer.
A first generation American whose parents were from India, Lahiri had to somehow reconcile those two drastically different worlds within herself. She did not feel Indian, and she did not feel American.
“My upbringing,” she writes, “an amalgam of two hemispheres, was heterodox and complicated; I wanted it to be conventional and contained. I wanted to be anonymous and ordinary, to look like other people, to behave as others did … How could I want to be a writer, to articulate what was within me, when I did not wish to be myself?” This struggle of self-doubt and managing one’s own expectations appears often in her works, and is a large part of what makes her one of the most important Indian-American writers today.