Why Pulitzer Prize-winner Jhumpa Lahiri quit the US for Italy

Sheila Pierce in the Financial Times:

At ScreenHunter_1202 May. 30 18.47Bar Glorioso, Jhumpa Lahiri stirs her daily espresso next to Roman workmen sipping beer, and converses in shy, fluent Italian with the barista. She speaks with the vocabulary of a bibliophile, the faint accent of an unidentifiable foreigner, and the serenity of a neighbourhood regular.

If the barista knows that Lahiri received the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction when she was 32, he does not treat her any differently because of it. And that’s one of the many reasons why she loves living in Italy: she has recovered the anonymity she cherished before becoming a literary celebrity.

After a lifetime of feeling that she never quite fitted into either India or the US, Lahiri feels a casa (“at home”) in Rome. She recently wrote about her Italian metamorphosis in a “linguistic autobiography”, titledIn Altre Parole (“In Other Words”), which hit Italian bookstores in January. “I waited a very long time to really go away from the world I knew,” she says. “Rome has given me a sense of belonging.”

Three years ago, Lahiri, 47, fulfilled her life-long wish of living in Italy, and moved to Rome from Brooklyn with her husband and their two children, Octavio, 13, and Noor, 10. A fan of Roman mythology as a child, a student of Latin at Barnard College, New York City (where she majored in English), and a PhD scholar in Renaissance studies at Boston University, she had always felt attracted to Rome.

More here.

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