At the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas, lives an embittered old judge who wants nothing more than to retire in peace. But with the arrival of his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, and his cook's son trying to stay a step ahead of US immigration services, this is far from easy. When a Nepalese insurgency threatens Sai's blossoming romance ...Read MoreAt the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas, lives an embittered old judge who wants nothing more than to retire in peace. But with the arrival of his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, and his cook's son trying to stay a step ahead of US immigration services, this is far from easy. When a Nepalese insurgency threatens Sai's blossoming romance with her handsome tutor they are forced to consider their colliding interests. The judge must revisit his past, his own journey and his role in this grasping world of conflicting desires every moment holding out the possibility for hope or betrayal.Read Less
New. Kiran Desai's first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, was published to unanimous acclaim in over twenty-two countries. Now Desai takes us to the northeastern Himalayas where a rising insurgency challenges the old way of life. 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. A novel of depth and emotion, Desai's second, long-awaited novel fulfills the grand promise established by her first. Winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the 2006 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction.
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I read this book as a selection with my literature group. Many found it was "an important book," but it was difficult for me to read around the utter despair that permeates everything. Perhaps I identify too much with a book's characters, and while this book was beautifully written, it also seemed a bit overwrought and over-thought. After I found out the author had whittled it down from 1800 pages, these feelings were easier to understand. Is India really such a joyless place? I doubt it, although I imagine living there is complex and difficult. These characters are so sad and dispirited, often without direction or inclination. I wonder why Desai found it important to write about them? I can't say I would recommend this book, although I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading it, either. Have something light-hearted on the table, though, for balance...
Aug 23, 2007
you can go home again but it won't be the same
A moving andd unusual book about Northern India, the hopes of immigrants, the ties of tradition, the plans of parents for their children and the difficulty of any actual positive change in our world. Tough protrayals of immigrant life in the US set off against class differences in India. And the difficulties of going back and forth. A good read!
Jun 7, 2007
The Real India
A well-written and informative book about the real, rural India. Not a very happy or encouraging book about conditions in India and its inhabitants, but an eye-opener about the destitution and lack of civility in the outer regions of the country.
Jun 1, 2007
Excellent, thought provoking read...
I recently read this book for my book club and thought it was very good. The writer is a master with language; the words were like prose. She was able to weave a myriad of social and political commentary into a story about people and their relationships. I would recommend this book to others, especially, if you are someone who enjoys a thought-provoking book that at once seems incredibly simple and yet amazingly complex. I can?t wait for our book club discussion!
Apr 3, 2007
The reality of loss
Being someone who hails from India's North-east,but still has to pay a price,off and on,for the whims and fancies of the so called " son of the soil " politics of the North-east,Kiran Deasi has, with remarkable sophistication touched the mood of Gorkhaland agitation in her book.To me, 'The Inheritance of Loss' was much more than Sai's loss of her first innocent love in Gyan to the Gorkhaland agitation,but that,she was unfortunate enough to have inherited that loss of belonging from the beginning.Biju's exploits in the US,although funny in a very sad way,reminded me of how my forefathers,very conveniently called "refugees"must have felt and experienced when they first came from erstwhile East Pakistan to India. I believe, many people of my generation,would like to think that we have had inherited the profoundest loss when the British divided my father's home in a sleepy village,not so long ago,by drawing two maps -when no one really needed them. I really thought about "loss" after reading this book and therein lies its truimph.
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