The Inheritance of Loss eBook Þ The Inheritance Epub


The Inheritance of Loss 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 Living in the PastMost of this brilliantly titled book is set in a small Himalayan community at the foot of Kanchenjunga, where a retired and reclusive Indian judge lives with his orphan grand daughter Sai, his cook, and his dog The judge s house is a decaying relic of the British Raj, and virtually everybody in the story has been touched in some way by the dead hand of colonialism, in language, lifestyle, and loyalties Rising in the background is the potential violence of the Ghorka national Living in the PastMost of this brilliantly titled book is set in a small Himalayan community at the foot of Kanchenjunga, where a retired and reclusive Indian judge lives with his orphan grand daughter Sai, his cook, and his dog The judge s house is a decaying relic of the British Raj, and virtually everybody in the story has been touched in some way by the dead hand of colonialism, in language, lifestyle, and loyalties Rising in the background is the potential violence of the Ghorka nationalist movement, people in a land of mixed ethnicity and history trying to assert their own identity And as a minor counterpoint, though somewhat less successful, there is the cook s son Biju, an illegal immigrant in New York, another displaced person trying to scrape out a living and establish an identity Desai writes beautifully in short chapters dissected into even shorter images, and her powers as a miniaturist are so beguiling that it is a long time before one becomes fully aware of the larger themes of the book But they are there, validating a vision that is funny, moving, and sad all at the same time So far, this is the Man Booker Prize winner that is most relevant to me as an Asian Most countries in Asia were once colonies of European or American countries and their influences will forever stay no matter how many centuries have passed Also, this is one of the most readable Although the verses are oftentimes playful, the storytelling is concise Almost all the characters seem to be alive and the imageries that the scenes create seem like imprints that will stay in your mind for a long tim So far, this is the Man Booker Prize winner that is most relevant to me as an Asian Most countries in Asia were once colonies of European or American countries and their influences will forever stay no matter how many centuries have passed Also, this is one of the most readable Although the verses are oftentimes playful, the storytelling is concise Almost all the characters seem to be alive and the imageries that the scenes create seem like imprints that will stay in your mind for a long time.It may not be as comprehensive as Salman Rusdie s Midnight s Children although it is also about India that used to be under the British empire However, it isexact with its urgent message the loss of the nation s true identity due to western influences The true Indian identity that was an amalgam of the nation s own culture and tradition spawning several centuries when they were still free of foreign influences After all, India has one of the oldest civilizations in the world It may not be as tear jerking and bewildering as Arundhati Roy s The God of Small Things although it is also about Indian families trying to survive the Third World realities of life However, it isrealistic with the characters finding themselves in the situations that were not imposed to them but mostly of their own choices I think this is what made me appreciate Desai s over Roy s that her characters have choices, despite the fact that those options are limited because of the harsh environment that they happened to live in It may not be as current as Aravind Adiga s The White Tiger although it is also about the changing landscape of a small Indian town However, Desai s storytelling isengaging as she has this rare ability to take you in a roller coaster ride you ll be in enthralled by her playful verses, in deep thoughts by her heartfelt message, in gratitude by being in a better state in life than her characters, in aversion to any form of racial discrimination by following the sad fate of Biju hopping from one job to another as an illegal alien in the USA and yet, in the end, you will feel cheering for her characters as you are able to identify yourself with them That no matter what we go through in life, there is still hope that awaits us at the end of each tumultuous journey.One of my GR friends once commented that he has veered away from novels with India as a setting because they are always about being destitute and poor There may be some truth on this However, novels are supposed to be about reality and that s how most of the people live in India I have been to Mumbai thrice In my 27 years in the corporate world, I have been fortunate to work under 4 Indian nationals and each of them has been telling me about too much politicking that hinders the development and progress in their country They are all good bosses with good education, very smart, knowledgeable, conscientious, culture sensitive and appreciative They and the other Indian people I had a chance to meet make me wonder how come that despite many good people in India, they seem to have difficulty in putting their acts together to propel their country to a higher ground Then I thought, I might as well be talking about the Filipinos and the Philippines I m not going to say that this novel is bad Chorus of GR friends Say it, go on, you know you want to but it was pretty ghastly for me It was strangled to death by a style you could describe as inane wittering, a crew of characters all of which are loveably eccentric and a plot that Ms Desai believes will take care of itself as the inane wittering puthers all over the loveable eccentrics.So, to sum upBAH The Inheritance Of Loss by Kiran Desai is a magnificent, impressive novel that ultimately is disappointing As a process, the book is almost stunningly good As a product, it falls short.The book s language, scenarios and juxtapositions are funny, threatening, vivid and tender all at the same time The comic element, always riven through with irony, is most often to the fore, as characters grapple with a world much bigger than themselves, a world that only ever seems to admit them partially, and The Inheritance Of Loss by Kiran Desai is a magnificent, impressive novel that ultimately is disappointing As a process, the book is almost stunningly good As a product, it falls short.The book s language, scenarios and juxtapositions are funny, threatening, vivid and tender all at the same time The comic element, always riven through with irony, is most often to the fore, as characters grapple with a world much bigger than themselves, a world that only ever seems to admit them partially, and rarely on their own terms The one criticism I have of the style is Kiran Desai s propensity to offer up lists as comic devices, a technique that works a couple of times, but later has the reader scanning forward to the next substance.An aged judge lives in the highlands of north India As political and ethnic tensions stretch through the mountain air, he reconsiders his origins, his education, his career, his opportunities, both taken and missed He has a granddaughter, orphaned in most unlikely circumstances, as her parents trained for a Russian space programme But what circumstances that create orphans are ever likely She is growing up, accompanied by most of what that entails.The cook in the rickety mansion is the person that really runs the household, his rule of thumb methods predating the appliances he has to use and the services he has to provide He manages, imaginatively He has a son, Biju, who eventually forms the centrepiece of the book s complex, somewhat rambling story Biju has emigrated to New York, where he has made it big, at least as far as the folks back home think On site, he slaves away in the dungeon kitchens of fast food outlets, restaurants, both up and downmarket, and a few plain eateries Kiran Desai provides the reader with a superb image of globalisation when she describes the customer receiving areas of an upmarket restaurant flying an advertised, authentic French flag, while in the kitchen the flags are Indian, Honduran, anything but French Now there is true authenticity for you, offered up in its manufactured, globalised form.Biju, of course, dreams of home, but the comparatively large number of US dollars he earns at least as far as the folks back home see it barely covers essentials in someone else s reality.The narrative of The Inheritance Of Loss flits between New York, northern India and elsewhere, and also between the here and now, yesteryear and the judge s childhood And perhaps it flits too much, because the scenes are often cut short before the reader feels they have made a point.And ultimately this reader found that the book lacked focus While the process was enjoyable, the product was not worth the journey The Inheritance Of Loss seemed to promise to take us somewhere in this globalised confusion of identity, motive, routine, unrealised dreams and intangible desires, but eventually it seemed to have nothing to add to a sense of well that s how it is , which is precisely where we started There was an opportunity for , but it was ducked.The book was thus a thoroughly enjoyable read that threatened to achieve greatness through statement, but unfortunately missed the mark, and by a long way

  • Paperback
  • 357 pages
  • The Inheritance of Loss
  • Kiran Desai
  • English
  • 22 June 2019
  • 0802142818

About the Author: Kiran Desai

Kiran Desai is an Indian author who is a citizen of India and a permanent resident of the United States She is the daughter of the noted author Anita Desai.Desai s first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard 1998 , gained accolades from notable figures including Salman Rushdie, and went on to receive the Betty Trask Award Her second novel, The Inheritance of Loss 2006 , won the 2006 Man Booker Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award.


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