Book review: The Inheritance of Loss

July 19, 2007 at 11:10 am (book review)

If you like fun books this one is not for you. It’s an engrossing, depressing, confusingly brilliant piece of writing from Kiran Desai.

Each character is a complete emotional mess and the book connects all the trials and traumas in some way. Every personal tragedy is explored in relation to other people.

A retired judge struggles to adapt to life in India during a time of immense political upheaval in the mid-80s. His granddaughter comes to live with him and falls in love with her tutor (surprise, surprise, it’s a kinda forbidden love). The judge’s cook longs for his son, who’s in New York trying to eke out a living by working in dodgy food places. In the mix are two Indian sisters who long for all things British and a whole other selection of motley characters add more layers to this story of loss and pain.

Each character endures severe suffering and the story is told in such a way that you can feel their pain along with them. By the end you’ll probably feel completely drained and won’t want to touch another book for a couple of days.



  1. madamm said,

    I think I may embark on it…after November.
    (sad panda mrs M)

  2. Toby Hanks said,

    It’s ok MrsM. It’s for the greater good that you’re doing what you do. Unlike us bums who just, well, bum around and read books!

  3. madamm said,

    greater good=teleology=ethics=thesis=aaaaaaaaaargh!

  4. Toby Hanks said,

    Ok, that’s bad.

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