"A Temporary Matter" was originally published in the New Yorker in April 1998 and is the first story in Jhumpa Lahiri's debut collection, Interpreter of Maladies (1999). The collection won the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for fiction, a rare achievement for a short-story collection.
The story takes place over five days, beginning March 19, at the suburban Boston home of a
married couple, Shoba and Shukumar. During this week, when they must cope with a one-hour power outage each evening, the grief and alienation that the two have suffered since the stillbirth of their child six months earlier builds to a climax.