Jhumpa Lahiri on Writing in Italian

Jhumpa Lahiri

Jhumpa Lahiri

You wrote “The Boundary” in Italian, and then translated it yourself. In 2016, you published “In Other Words” (an excerpt of which ran in the magazine), which explored your relationship with the Italian language and traced your growing fluency in it. Have you been writing predominantly in Italian since then? Does it change the act of writing for you? Would “The Boundary” have been a different story if you’d written it in English?

I have continued writing in Italian. I have published a number of other stories and essays in Italian journals, and have recently completed a novel that will be published in Italy later this year. I think, see, and feel differently in Italian. I say things more simply but also more directly. And I tend to take more chances. “The Boundary” would surely have been a different story, composed in a different register, had I conceived it in English.

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