Miranda, a twenty-something American woman, is having an affair with Dev, a Bengali-American man. Miranda's co-worker Laxmi obsesses about her cousin, recently deserted by her husband for a another woman.
One idea presented here is that some people are not interested in geography until they become involved with someone from a particular part of the world. Then they want to know more, and the "foreign land" becomes fetishized. Miranda is using Dev like a tourist to “experience” her idea of India:
“Now, when she and Dev made love, Miranda closed her eyes and saw deserts and elephants, and marble pavilions floating on lakes beneath a full moon.”
Do you think Lahiri has any sympathy for Miranda? (I wondered if Lahiri had encountered Miranda in America, in real life.) On one hand, Miranda seems to embody a certain type of person: she means well in the way she relates to people of other races, but gets it all wrong. At the same time, she displays an admirable strength for a woman in the throws of a passionate, doomed affair; she is able to pull herself out before her heart is broken.
Rohin, the young boy, makes me uncomfortable with his behavior. Why doesn’t he make Miranda uncomfortable? Why doesn’t she explain normal boundaries to him, the way another adult caretaker would?
Why IS Miranda so able to let go of Dev? Did that surprise you? How did her interaction with Rohin help her to move on?