There are few appearances by God in The Interpreter of Maladies (Mariner Books), a Pulitzer Prize-winning collection of short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. Lahiri’s settings are both secular and multicultural, and the challenge facing her characters is to navigate between India and America. Not all the stories hinge on the immigrant struggle, though, and the power of Lahiri’s prose transcends culture, class and background. In my favourite story, “This Blessed House,” the Hindu newlyweds Sanjeev and Twinkle find Christian memorabilia (a paint-by-number of the three wise men, a silver bust of Christ, a snow-globe of the nativity) in the nooks and crannies of their new home; in the process they realize that they are incompatible. Though it is fashionable now to leave short stories brief and open-ended, Lahiri bucks the trend by offering perfectly crafted tales that conclude with dramatic certainty.