When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine


Jhumpa Lahiri

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When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dine Characters


Lilia is the story’s narrator; she is 10 years old during the main events of the story. Though Lilia’s mother and father emigrated from Calcutta, Lilia was born and raised in a small suburb of… read analysis of Lilia

Mr. Pirzada

The titular Mr. Pirzada is a professor of botany from the city of Dacca in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). When the story takes place, he is spending a year in New England to study a… read analysis of Mr. Pirzada

Lilia’s Father

Lilia’s father is a university professor. Having immigrated to the United States from Calcutta, he often misses Indian food and culture. He is also concerned that Lilia’s education is too focused on the U.S… read analysis of Lilia’s Father

Lilia’s Mother

Lilia’s mother—who, like Lilia’s father, is originally from Calcutta—now works at a bank in Boston. While Lilia’s father fears that his daughter does not know enough about the world, Lilia’s mother is grateful… read analysis of Lilia’s Mother
Minor Characters
Ten-year-old Dora is Lilia’s best friend and classmate. They go trick-or-treating or together, and they collaborate on their school project about the American Revolution. Dora has no idea that there is any conflict in East Pakistan, and she often seems confused by Mr. Pirzada and his relationship to Lilia.
Mrs. Kenyon
Mrs. Kenyon is Lilia and Dora’s teacher. She emphasizes American history (and particularly the American Revolution) in her lessons and prohibits Lilia from trying to research other parts of the world.