Winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize
Winner of the 2007 National Book Critics Circle fiction award
Synopses & Reviews
From the author of Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard
comes a masterpiece set in a corner of the Himalayas where a rising insurgency challenges the old way of life Kiran Desai's new novel about belonging and estrangement, exile and homecoming, is rich and infinitely wise.
Published to unanimous acclaim in over twenty-two countries, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard announced the arrival of a stunning new voice and was, according to Salman Rushdie, "welcome proof that India's encounter with the English language continues to give birth to new children, endowed with lavish gifts."
Now Kiran Desai takes us to the northeastern Himalayas where 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, who is hopscotching from one miserable New York restaurant to another, trying to stay a step ahead of the INS and forced to consider his country's relationship with the wider 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 journey and role in this grasping world of conflicting desires every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal.
A story of such depth and emotion, hilarity and imagination, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first.
"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." Time Out
"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." Denver Post
"Shimmering with honesty and humanity....This novel is finely accomplished." Seattle Times
"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." Entertainment Weekly
"The story ricochets between the two worlds, held together by Desai's sharp eyes and even sharper tongue." San Francisco Chronicle
"If book reviews just cut to the chase, this one would simply read: This is a terrific novel! Read it!" The Boston Globe
"[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." Christian Science Monitor
"Briskly paced and sumptuously written, the novel ponders questions of nationhood, modernity, and class, in ways both moving and revelatory." New Yorker
"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." Los Angeles Times
"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." Chicago Tribune
"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." New York Times
About the Author
Kiran Desai was born in India in 1971. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard. Educated in India, England, and the United States, she received her MFA from Columbia.