exclusive_hotgaurav, February 29, 2008 (view all comments by exclusive_hotgaurav)
'Inheritance of Loss', don't know what was on the mind of Kiran Desai while writing it, but I'm sure whatever it was it had a lot to do with the loss. Be it Kalimpong or New York, be it Sai or Bijju, or be it human or animal... The real life as it should be, woven with losses, loss of parents, loss of family, loss of life, loss of love and loss of inheritance of course. Story- would say not fancy but factual- real Bookers type.
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Cathie, October 12, 2006 (view all comments by Cathie)
As the book opens, Sai, a 17 year old who has lost her parents in an accident, comes to live with her Cambridge-educated Anglophile grandfather, a retired judge, in the town of Kalimpong on the Indian side of the Himalayas. She is cared for by the cook who becomes a sort of surrogate mother. Sai is romantically involved with her math tutor, Gyan, the descendant of a Nepali Gurkha mercenary. Conflicting ideologies, circumstance and delusions pull them apart and she begins to fall out of love with him. I won't divulge anything more except for the following passage in order to give you a taste of Kiran Desai's writing style (somewhat Salman Rushdie-esque). ''Sai looked out and saw two figures leaping at each other as the gate swung open. The five peaks of Kanchenjunga turned golden with the kind of luminous light that made you feel, if briefly, that truth was apparent. All you needed to do was to reach out and pluck it."
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"This stunning second novel from Desai (Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard) is set in mid-1980s India, on the cusp of the Nepalese movement for an independent state. Jemubhai Popatlal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge, lives in Kalimpong, at the foot of the Himalayas, with his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, and his cook. The makeshift family's neighbors include a coterie of Anglophiles who might be savvy readers of V.S. Naipaul but who are, perhaps, less aware of how fragile their own social standing is — at least until a surge of unrest disturbs the region. Jemubhai, with his hunting rifles and English biscuits, becomes an obvious target. Besides threatening their very lives, the revolution also stymies the fledgling romance between 16-year-old Sai and her Nepalese tutor, Gyan. The cook's son, Biju, meanwhile, lives miserably as an illegal alien in New York. All of these characters struggle with their cultural identity and the forces of modernization while trying to maintain their emotional connection to one another. In this alternately comical and contemplative novel, Desai deftly shuttles between first and third worlds, illuminating the pain of exile, the ambiguities of post-colonialism and the blinding desire for a 'better life,' when one person's wealth means another's poverty. Agent, Michael Carlisle. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
by New York Times,
"Kiran Desai's extraordinary new novel manages to explore...just about every contemporary international issue: globalization, multiculturalism, economic inequality, fundamentalism and terrorist violence. Despite being set in the mid-1980's, it seems the best kind of post-9/11 novel."
by Chicago Tribune,
"This story of exiles at home and abroad...is one of the most impressive novels in English of the past year, and I predict you'll read it almost as Sai read her Bronte, with your heart in your chest, inside the narrative, and the narrative inside you."
by Los Angeles Times,
"Wise, insightful and full of wonderfully compelling and conflicted characters....With its razor insights and emotional scope, The Inheritance of Loss amplifies a developing and formidable voice."
by New Yorker,
"Briskly paced and sumptuously written, the novel ponders questions of nationhood, modernity, and class, in ways both moving and revelatory."
by Christian Science Monitor,
"[T]he final scene treats the heart to one last moment of wild, comic joy — even as it satisfies the head by refusing to relinquish the dark reality that is the life of its characters."
by The Boston Globe,
"If book reviews just cut to the chase, this one would simply read: This is a terrific novel! Read it!"
by San Francisco Chronicle,
"The story ricochets between the two worlds, held together by Desai's sharp eyes and even sharper tongue."
by Entertainment Weekly,
"Ambitious....The book's magic lies in such rich images as an Indian judge wearing a 'silly white wig atop a dark face in the burning heat of summer."
by Seattle Times,
"Shimmering with honesty and humanity....This novel is finely accomplished."
by Denver Post,
"Desai's strength lies in her ability to capture, with humor and grace, the nuanced complexities of the characters and their times....[A novel] that brings both caring and understanding."
by Time Out,
"Desai shed light on the tribulations of all Indians abroad....The passages about life in India are especially evocative, capturing the interplay between the country's politics and people's lives."
by Hold All,
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.
The author of the acclaimed "Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard" takes readers to the northeastern Himalayas where a rising insurgency in Nepal challenges the old way of life--and opens up a grasping world of conflicting desires.
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