The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

by Kiran Desai
2.9 61

Paperback(First Trade Paper Edition)

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Overview

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai


In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge’s cook watches over her distractedly, for his thoughts are often on his son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one gritty New York restaurant to another. Kiran Desai’s brilliant novel, published to huge acclaim, is a story of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802142818
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 08/28/2006
Edition description: First Trade Paper Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 190,247
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

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The Inheritance of Loss 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 61 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Spoony More than 1 year ago
I really wish I had read the reviews before buying this book. I can't believed it received such acclaim. The author clearly has style--her narration is chock-full of little spot-on anecdotes--but her character and plot development are nonexistent. I have felt more connected to cartoon characters. Maybe I just didn't get it, missed the point, but by the time I was halfway through, I hated the book so much that I didn't care anymore about the fact that it was over my head. I will never again purchase a book based solely on its receipt of the National Book Critics Circle Award or the Man Booker Prize.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am an AVID reader and HATE not finishing a book, but I just could not get through this one. I am usually eager to read and find out what happens next, but picking up this book was painful each time and I decided to just give up. If you like books that discuss political issues this might be for you, but I prefer great characters that you learn to love/hate/empathize with etc. and I did not find that in The Inheritance of Loss.
Mybookreview More than 1 year ago
The story made me curious enough to continue reading to the end but most of the characters were unlikeable people. There was a great deal of turmoil in the story that didn't seem to have a point until near the end of the book when the historical political implications were made apparent. This story could serve as the basis for book club discussions about empirialism and hegemony with extrapolation to contemporary events.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love historical novels, but the history here wasn't presented clearly, and the characters and story were boring. Only Biju came alive for me - I wish there'd been more about him. The other characters and their backgrounds (each representing some social or political group, to drive home the historical points), all became a blur. I enjoyed learning more about the upheaval/conflicts in India at that time, but it was a long, slow read, and the melodrama at the end felt contrived.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this would be a good book, but it turned out to be confusing, wildly random and difficult to follow.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So..... l forgot what my last post was XD
CR-Buell More than 1 year ago
The Inheritance of Loss is a truly beautiful novel. The themes Kiren Desai explores in this story, family dynamic and national identity, are almost cliche when it comes to Indian literature, but Desai pulls it off, and beautifully so. These characters will get inside you, their hopeless dreams will become your hopeless dreams, their deep regrets will become your deep regrets, their mountain will become your mountain. The rich and evocative prose is perfect for the subject matter, and the story unfolds in a natural way which will keep you turning pages. This novel strongly reminded me of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things, which is a very good thing.
TinaWI More than 1 year ago
Having read 'the most helpful critical review' before reading this for school, I really noticed the infantalization of many of the characters. No lie, it was offensive, if not just annoying. But it caused me to consider colonialism and other (kind of) current events effecting India. After reading the book, I read some scholarly articles on it, that also gave the characters' attitudes more meaning. But that doesn't make it a fun read, does it?
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Themes relate to impact of colonialism on a culture. I read some of it aloud to my mom, because she loves beautifully crafted sentences. Much food for thought--fabulously written.
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Xanthe More than 1 year ago
Very flavorful writing. Not quite as good as The God of Small Things, but very good
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