Amy's Reviews > The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
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's review
Jan 10, 2009

really liked it

This is a novel that weaves different threads together to make one story. One thread is set in India near the Nepalese border, the other in New York City. The characters are ordinary folks, living in ordinary times, but are quite well depicted: orphaned Sai, living with her embittered granfather who is a retired judge, the cook (who misses his son, illegally in the US and working in various kitchens while avoiding the INS. Even the dog in the Judge's household plays a part in the story.

One thing that struck me was that all the characters in this book don't do so well in their interactions with the West. What we have to offer the world may not always be the best solution for those to which it is being offered...

I'll take this to our meet up on Saturday and see if anyone is interested in reading it.

From the Publisher
Kiran Desai's first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, was published to unanimous acclaim in over twenty-two countries. Now Desai takes us to the northeastern Himalayas where a rising insurgency challenges the old way of life. In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge who wants to retire in peace when his orphaned granddaughter Sai arrives on his doorstep. The judge's chatty cook watches over her, but his thoughts are mostly with his son, Biju, hopscotching from one New York restaurant job to another, trying to stay a step ahead of the INS, forced to consider his country's place in the world. When a Nepalese insurgency in the mountains threatens Sai's new-sprung romance with her handsome Nepali tutor and causes their lives to descend into chaos, they, too, are forced to confront their colliding interests. The nation fights itself.

The cook witnesses the hierarchy being overturned and discarded. The judge must revisit his past, his own role in this grasping world of conflicting desires--every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal. A novel of depth and emotion, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first.

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Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Asha Reading through all the above reviews, I have to admit that although the book was very poignant to me, it was also very depressing. The hopelessness was all permeating.
That said, I loved Ms. Desai's writing and the sex scene that seemed to have grossed out everyone, was one I thought apt to depict the judge. He is a lost man, mired in self-hatred and disgust. I love this book. Depicts post-colonial India and her identity in the third world very well. The portrayal of masses of have-nots in a country that has lush potential but somehow cannot get it together to be an economic strength is also an underlying statement here...

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