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book review, the inheritance of loss, kiran desai


Kiran Desai bagged the 2006 Booker prize for her extraordinary novel, ‘The Inheritance of Loss’. In just 300 pages, Desai has brought out the hopelessness of globalization, impotency of multiculturalism and the horror of terrorist violence.

The novel is set in the picturesque town of Kalimpong in Northeast India. The story unfolds with a teenage orphan girl, Sai, who is dumped upon her grandfather’s cares. The man, himself, is a Cambridge-educated, retired judge. A dog-named Mutt and a cook also live in this decrepit bungalow. Sai and her tutor, Gyan, are involved in a simple crush, which turns slightly nasty after Gyan’s jump into local politics. In a parallel narration runs the sad story of Biju, the cook’s son, who is an illegal immigrant in New York. The thread that binds all these characters is the deep and permanent wound that the west has inflicted on them.

The book argues that economic inequality cannot be washed away by globalization. "Profit," Desai observes at one point, "could only be harvested in the gap between nations, working one against the other." Though there are many novels in the same genre, this one stands out for it’s wonderful prose. The descriptions of the forests and mountains make them come alive to our minds. However, the same cannot be said about the characters, especially the judge. Though we feel the humiliation and hopelessness of Desai’s characters, we are unable to connect or sympathize with them.

Where Desai does shine, however, is in her clear capture of the local life of Kalimpong. The lucid descriptions of the Apollo deaf tailors, the Anglophile population and the onset of the monsoons make us feel as if we are on a walk in the steep streets of this town. Desai’s years of research in Kalimpong has definitely been rewarded.
Name:Ms. Archana Sarat(Student of Creative Writing Course at Writer’s Bureau, UK.)
Address: Flat 302, SEBI Awaas,Temple View II, Raheja Township,Malad (East),Mumbai – 400 097.India.
Ph no.: +91-0-9892053066

Published: 2007-05-08
Author: Archana Sarat

About the author or the publisher
I am a freelance journalist for the last one year. my published pieces are displayed in the Blog page of my site. i am interested in challenging writing work in all fields. i can undertake extensive research. i am a student of the Writer's Bureau, UK. I am also a member of the Association of Freelance Journalists, England. my writing style and vocabulary are my strengths.

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