The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

Book - 2006
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The Inheritance of Loss is Kiran Desai's extraordinary Man Booker Prize winning novel.

High in the Himalayas sits a dilapidated mansion, home to three people, each dreaming of another time.

The judge, broken by a world too messy for justice, is haunted by his past. His orphan granddaughter has fallen in love with her handsome tutor, despite their different backgrounds and ideals. The cook's heart is with his son, who is working in a New York restaurant, mingling with an underclass from all over the globe as he seeks somewhere to call home.

Around the house swirl the forces of revolution and change. Civil unrest is making itself felt, stirring up inner conflicts as powerful as those dividing the community, pitting the past against the present, nationalism against love, a small place against the troubles of a big world.

'A Magnificent novel of humane breadth and wisdom, comic tenderness and political acuteness' Hermione Lee, chair of the Man Booker Prize judges

'Poised, elegant and assured . . . breaks out into extraordinary beauty' The Times

'Desai's bold, original voice, and her ability to deal in a grand narratives with a deft comic touch that affectionately recalls some of the masters of Indian fiction, makes hers a novel to reread and remembered' Independent

Kiran Desai was born in India in 1971, was educated in India, England and the United States, and now lives in New York. She is the author of Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, which was published to unanimous acclaim in over twenty-two countries, and The Inheritance of Loss, which won the Man Book Prize for Fiction and the National Book Critics Circle Award, was shortlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction.

Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press,� 2006
ISBN: 9780141027289
Branch Call Number: AF DESA


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WVMLStaffPicks Oct 26, 2014

In Kalimpong, at the foot of the Himalayas, a region disputed by India and Nepal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge, his orphaned grand-daughter, and his cook struggle with their cultural identity, modernization, and the ambiguities of post-colonialism. The winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize, this novel comes highly recommended.

If you like a complex plot line, overwhelming social injustice and individual hubris and stupidity then read this book. Tolstoy it is not. The author does not respect her readers, it feels like 1,000 pages of stream of consciousness writing bouncing between USA and India. This book was a challenge to my powers of concentration.

Sep 11, 2012

Started September 11, 2012 Finished October 4, 2012 (also read the 3 Prison Diaries by Jeffrey Archer in this time).......This book really didn't do a thing for me. (my sister either) I found it a little depressing, and a little boring. The ending.....well......what ending!

Jul 24, 2012

Both heavy and light at times, this book shows layer upon layer of life, loss, love, ambition, escape, denial, hatred, and almost every other emotion you can think of.

brianreynolds May 23, 2011

I was caught up in both the amazing prose and the intriguing intertwining stories: the Sisyphean struggle of love and comfort against culture and politics, the struggle for cultural identity and survival on a shrinking planet.

The title seemed almost a contradiction. But culture is truly our first and perhaps most precious inheritance, poignantly so in an age where the idea of "culture" itself, it could be argued, is on the verge of extinction. Cultures thrive in isolation. In a world that depends on immigration, illegal immigration, and displaced populations, "culture" becomes the villain in romance, the obstacle to success, the instigator of tragedy or, in this case, irony.

Kiran Desai makes the reader laugh and cry almost with the same sentence. The foibles of a retired judge, his granddaughter, his cook, and the cook's son are more than character flaws revealed in the turmoil of an insurgency. They are the inevitable cultural baggage we carry to our own detriment in our relations with others and our consolation when we oh so cautiously peer into the mirror.

Inheritance takes some effort especially on the part of the non-Indian/ non-Nepalese reader; Desai is not a connector of all the dots, but the reward for reading her is huge for anyone interested in the human condition, the human heart.

Jan 31, 2011

A beautifully written novel that got me thinking about the long-term effects of colonialism.

Dec 05, 2010

2006 Man Booker Prize

Sep 10, 2010

Very interesting book. Full of colourful characters: One being a young girl who falls in love with her tutor who has some involvement with local uprising; a grandfather who did his higher education in England when he was young ; and a young man who tries to survive as a dishwasher/cook in New York city without work permit.

Jul 14, 2010

Story grinds to a halt. Not sure I like any of the characters.

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