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The Inheritance of Loss (Man Booker Prize)

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The Inheritance of Loss (Man Booker Prize)

by Kiran Desai

  • Used
  • fine
  • hardcover
  • First
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About This Item

Atlantic Monthly Press, 2006. First. Hardback, Dustjacket. Fine.


Kiran Desai is an Indian author born in 1971. She is a citizen of India and a permanent resident of the United States . This charming, heartwarming novel, The Inheritance of Loss won the Booker Man prize in 2006. The story is set in the remote province of Kalimpong, India as well as in New York, during the mid-1980’s. The novel is centered on two main characters, Biju and Sai, and is told mainly through the eyes of Sai, a teenage girl whose parents are both dead, and who must return from Russia to India to her embittered maternal grandfather. This entrancing novel describes individuals that are truly human, two intertwined Indian families, one elite and privileged, but living in the quickly fading shadows of colonial India, while the other is poor and servile, but both trying to make sense of the rapidly changing world in which they live.  


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On Apr 28 2014, a reader said:
Loved the writing, hated the story. I just was getting more and more depressed with all the futility, the war, the poverty, the injustice - just the general ugliness of people's behavior. The land is beautiful, much like the writing, but it contains all these gross things like this description of a scorpion, from the families of scorpions living in the kindling in the kitchen,

"Once he'd found a mother, plump with poison, fourteen babies on her back."

or this description of a snot eating giant spider,

"Then, sad to report, he picked some snot balls from his nose and fed them to a giant tiger-striped spider sitting in its web between the table and the wall. It pounced, couldn't believe its luck, and began slowly to eat."

And who is giving his snot to the spider? The love interest! Well, he is young and very poor. OK, it is funny right? Yes. But the poverty... and it isn't just the poverty, it is the cruelty of people to each other, all the continued hatred from the beginning of time.

Listen to this conversation that takes place between a married couple from India who own a restaurant in NY, after reading the International News in the NY Times,

"Imagine if we were sitting around saying, "So-and-so-score years ago, Neanderthals came out of the woods, attacked my family with a big dinosaur bone, and now you give back."

Well that is what is being said, you did such and such so I am justified in doing this and that to you. Family against family, tribe against tribe, nation against nation, color against lack of color, rich against poor. ----I just felt like putting my fingers in my ears and telling this book, "I'm not listening!"

Here is a paragraph that pretty much epitomizes what this book is about,

"But while the residents were shocked by the violence, they were also often surprised by the mundaneness of it all. Discovered the extent of perversity that the heart is capable of as they sat at home with nothing to do, and found that is was possible, faced with the stench of unimaginable evil, for a human being to grow bored, yawn, be absorbed by the problem of a missing sock, by neighborly irritations, to feel hunger skipping like a little mouse inside a tummy and return, once again, to the pressing matter of what to eat....There they were, the most commonplace of them, those quite mis-matched with the larger than-life-questions, caught up in the mythic battles of a past vs. present, justice vs. injustice -- the most ordinary swept up in extraordinary hatred, because extraordinary hatred was, after all, a commonplace event."

Depressing, right? So depressing. Saved by the author's very astute observations and her ironic humor.


Rocking Chair Books US (US)
Bookseller Inventory #
The Inheritance of Loss (Man Booker Prize)
Kiran Desai
Hardback, Dustjacket
Book condition
Used - Fine
Atlantic Monthly Press
Date published
Bookseller catalogs
Domestic Fiction; Psychological Fiction;

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Rocking Chair Books

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Barrington, Illinois
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