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The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
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The Inheritance of Loss (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Kiran Desai

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5,564165774 (3.42)1 / 503
Member:PaperbackPirate
Title:The Inheritance of Loss
Authors:Kiran Desai
Info:Grove/Atlantic (2006), Mass Market Paperback, 357 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (2005)

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Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai was published in 2006 and won a number of literary awards including the Man Booker Prize. This is an ambitious book that deals with a wide assortment of characters that move the narrative from Northern India to New York and elsewhere. The time line also swings the reader between past and present as the author interweaves her plot-lines. I knew this was going to be an extremely well written book but I am a little disappointed that it did not totally draw me in. Possibly my timing in reading it was off as I found my powers of concentration were not up to this complicated story right now. I was trying to get it read and back to library in a timely fashion.

The story opens in 1986 at a crumbling, isolated house in the foothills of the Himalayas. This is the residence of a retired and embittered judge and his orphaned granddaughter, Sai. The judge shows far more affection to his dog, Mutt, than to his granddaughter. Sai tiptoes around her grandfather, trying to please him but is actually much closer to the cook, who in turn, has his thoughts focused on his son, Biju who is living the shadow life of an illegal immigrant in New York and chasing that elusive “green card”. As other characters are introduced the mood of the book seems to be one of regret, a loss of identity and a quest to find the balance needed in one’s life.

Personally, I did find The Inheritance of Loss, a little rambling and slightly disjointed at times but the writing was impressive and original as she shows how mixed up and uncertain the world can be and how ultimately most people fear change and have a strong desire for both acceptance and security. Although I did not totally fall in love with this book, I can tell that it will be one that I will mentally refer to many times. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Feb 4, 2017 |
sad story — Indians in India + America — caste system Horrible

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.
  christinejoseph | Jan 5, 2017 |
I didn't like Desai's first novel and can't say this one was much better. It rambled here and there and though it made a point or two about the evils of globalism or nationalism, I was never fully engaged. It felt like a novel that didn't really know what it wanted to be - a comic portrait of late 20th c. India, a play on the immigrant experience, a coming of age story. Nothing jelled.

I cannot believe it won the Booker. ( )
  laurenbufferd | Nov 14, 2016 |
This novel is set in a crumbling grand house in the hills below Kangchenjunga and this is the permanent and un-moving object in the novel, while all around there is change. The novel covers poverty and wealth and inequality both in India and in the US, where the cook's son emigrates illegally to and who then has a series of exploitative jobs in the grey areas of employment and abused by employers. In India there is constant loss of dignity, of love, of possessions and freedom. This is a bleak novel that was difficult to read. ( )
  Tifi | Aug 1, 2016 |
Mount Kanchenjunga is in the Northeastern Himalayas and in this remote area lives a retired judge from the Indian Civil Service. He believes he has retired to live in splendid isolation but his granddaughter Sai comes to live with him. Together and separately with all those around them, they experience every possible loss humanity is forced to endure; love, hope, peace, dignity, and respect. At the end, there is nothing left to lose. It was with some trepidation I began this book for I had to force myself to read that other Indian book “The God of Small Things.” However, those concerns vanished for I was immediate engaged in Kiran Desai’s rich, emotive writing. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kiran Desaiprimary authorall editionscalculated
Drews, KristiinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lai, Chin-YeeCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Boast of Quietness

Writings of light assault the darkness, more prodigious than meteors.

The tall unknowable city takes over the countryside.

Sure of my life and my death, I observe the ambitious and would like to understand them.

Their day is greedy as a lariat in the air.

Their night is a rest from the rage within steel, quick to attack.

They speak of humanity.

My humanity is in feeling we are all voices of the same poverty.

They speak of homeland.

My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits, an old sword, the willow grove's visible prayer as evening falls.

Time is living me.

More silent than my shadow, I pass through the loftily covetous multitude.

They are indispensable, singular, worthy of tomorrow.

My name is someone and anyone.

I walk slowly, like one who comes from so far away he doesn't expect to arrive.

-Jorge Luis Borges
Dedication
To my mother with so much love
First words
All day, the colours had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths.
Quotations
An accident, they said, and there was nobody to blame - it was just fate in the way fate has of providing the destitute with a greater quota of accidents for which nobody can be blamed.
Just ordinary humans in ordinary opaque boiled-egg light, without grace, without revelation, composite of contradictions, easy principles, arguing about what they half believed in or even what they didn't believe in at all, desiring comfort as much as raw austerity, authenticity as much as playacting, desiring coziness of family as much as to abandon it forever.
...and he felt a flash of jealousy as do friends when they lose another to love, especially those who have understood that friendship is enough, steadier, healthier, easier on the heart. Something that always added and never took away. (Ch 39)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0802142818, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:13:56 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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 judgeʾs 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 Desaiʾs 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. Winner of 2006 Man Booker Prize.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 11 descriptions

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Editions: 0141027282, 0141399368

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