Customer Reviews for

The Inheritance of Loss

Average Rating 3
( 62 )
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

You people don't get it

Good writing isn't beginning middle and end. A novel doesn't need a clear plot to be excellent. You see, there are things in the business called 'literary devices.' Some of these are things like irony, symbolism, personification, things like that. The 'proper' use of th...
Good writing isn't beginning middle and end. A novel doesn't need a clear plot to be excellent. You see, there are things in the business called 'literary devices.' Some of these are things like irony, symbolism, personification, things like that. The 'proper' use of these transcends the simple writing that rubes like you people seem to enjoy and turns a text into a well of meaning. If you aren't too inept to notice, you'll find that Desai's novel is loaded with themes dealing with the effects of post-colonialism on the third world. She does a very elegant job portraying these themes, especially through the relationships she creates between characters. Overall it was a good read 'in every sense of the word'.

posted by Anonymous on March 18, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

Poorly executed writing and Morally Offensive

Was it not Orhan Pamuk that said that an author who has not experienced poverty should not attempt to write about it? Kiran Desai has violated this maxim and her elitist attitude and class status are clearly evident.

"The Inheritance of Loss" is virtually an unread...
Was it not Orhan Pamuk that said that an author who has not experienced poverty should not attempt to write about it? Kiran Desai has violated this maxim and her elitist attitude and class status are clearly evident.

"The Inheritance of Loss" is virtually an unreadable novel for several reasons. However, before I go into these, and another commenter calls me and other "negative" commenters "rubes," I should state that I have been studying and reading literature for thirty years and am a civil rights attorney.

Ms. Desai's novel fails in several areas: characterization, dialogue, grammar, sentence construction, flow of the prose, and moral obligation to the subjects.

Every character in this novel has the same voice and interior monologue. All the voices are juvenile at best and immature at worst despite the age of the character. (e.g., p. 3, during the judge's interior monologue, he thinks, "Never ever was the tea . . ." May I ask, which adult male uses the term "Never ever" verbally or in his own mind? Similarly, the cook thinks in his interior monologue on page 10. "They had guns now, which they might clean of rust, fill with bullets, and . . . shoot!" A grown man with average intelligence would not think in such childlike terms.)

Further, you do not "know" the characters since each of them appear to be the same in tone, thoughts and personality. Unlike, perhaps, the deep and vivid characters in Jhumpa Lahiri's work, Desai's characters are flat, sterotypical and robotic.

Ms. Desai's use of dialogue is unrealistic and stilted as well. If you read her dialogue out loud with another person, you will realize that people do not talk in that manner.

Grammatically, Ms. Desai's book is rife with a plethora of errors that read to a person like fingernails scratching down the literary blackboard of the soul. The novel reads like an exotic Sophie Kinsella novel. She overuses adverbs and adjectives in a superfluous manner. She uses the same word redundantly in the sentence. (e.g., p. 8, the word "hanging" is used twice in one sentence.) Perhaps, she could make use of a thesaurus. Virtually on every page, she misuses dependent clauses such that actions occur simultaneously, which could not happen at the same time. There is a more creative way to design similes and metaphors than by always using the word "as." This writing distracts from the flow of a novel.

The most egregious part of Ms. Desai's book is that it humiliates and debases people of poverty, people not of her socio-economic class and caste. She presents all the impoverished characters as though they were weak, powerless, unintelligent and prideless. Apparently, Ms. Desai has had very few negative and/or real life experiences and has lived in a privileged bubble as shown by her insensitivity in the text. (e.g., page 6 when describing the cook: "His lines had been honed over centuries, passed down through generations, for poor people needed certain lines; the script was always the same, and they had no option but to beg for mercy. The cook knew instinctively how to cry." This is insulting and degrading. Also, on page 11, she writes "He was a powerless man, barely enough learning to read and write, had worked like a donkey all his life...."

Perhaps, she should listen to her dear friend Orhan Pamuk.

posted by Lagniappe_Literature on April 22, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2008

    You people don't get it

    Good writing isn't beginning middle and end. A novel doesn't need a clear plot to be excellent. You see, there are things in the business called 'literary devices.' Some of these are things like irony, symbolism, personification, things like that. The 'proper' use of these transcends the simple writing that rubes like you people seem to enjoy and turns a text into a well of meaning. If you aren't too inept to notice, you'll find that Desai's novel is loaded with themes dealing with the effects of post-colonialism on the third world. She does a very elegant job portraying these themes, especially through the relationships she creates between characters. Overall it was a good read 'in every sense of the word'.

    3 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2015

    Alagesia

    Here

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Enjoyable

    Very flavorful writing. Not quite as good as The God of Small Things, but very good

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2007

    Great Read

    Beautifully written story. I loved the way Kiran Desai captures the spirit and expectations, post-Brittish rule in India.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    kiran desai is undoubtedly a sensuous novelist.The inheritance of linguistic intelligence from her renowned mother has enabled her to narrate the story with so much of details and description- from the divine beauty of Kanchjungha to the single twirl of smoke that rises from the dark and spider-webbed kitchen. She reveals herself as a very keen observer with all her senses alert to catch even a minute detail.Her sense of sight is unique in nature- the silhoutte picture of the garden and the house is beautifully painted in black and white against the encircling dusk. thro' out the novel she exhibits her sharp sense of taste while describingthe various dishes -indian and western. Her sense of smell is astonishing...she smells almost everything-the autumn..the winter..and whatnot. she hears the bugs beetles raindrops and their various rhythms...Her descriptive style makes her alive thro'out the novel. I Visualized the author the more than any of her characters. But it was really puzzling to realise that she who gives much importance to details, gives less importancceto the physical appearance of the major characters-Sai,in the 20th chapt. and others-not at all.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2006

    Brilliant and hopeless

    Right up there with The Kite Runner. A novel for the global planet as we live it today - immediate and lush and brilliant and ferociously funny, it is equally hopeless. There is beauty here but it is useless and fleeting against such violence and dislocation and alienation, poverty and injustice. Why not just kill oneself then? That's what I got out of it. There's no hope. So I'm reading this because... ?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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