- Series: Man Booker Prize
- Hardcover: 336 pages
- Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; First Edition edition (November 28, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0871139294
- ISBN-13: 978-0871139290
- Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (271 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #822,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Inheritance of Loss: A Novel (Man Booker Prize) Hardcover – November 28, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. This stunning second novel from Desai (Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard) is set in mid-1980s India, on the cusp of the Nepalese movement for an independent state. Jemubhai Popatlal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge, lives in Kalimpong, at the foot of the Himalayas, with his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, and his cook. The makeshift family's neighbors include a coterie of Anglophiles who might be savvy readers of V.S. Naipaul but who are, perhaps, less aware of how fragile their own social standing is—at least until a surge of unrest disturbs the region. Jemubhai, with his hunting rifles and English biscuits, becomes an obvious target. Besides threatening their very lives, the revolution also stymies the fledgling romance between 16-year-old Sai and her Nepalese tutor, Gyan. The cook's son, Biju, meanwhile, lives miserably as an illegal alien in New York. All of these characters struggle with their cultural identity and the forces of modernization while trying to maintain their emotional connection to one another. In this alternately comical and contemplative novel, Desai deftly shuttles between first and third worlds, illuminating the pain of exile, the ambiguities of post-colonialism and the blinding desire for a "better life," when one person's wealth means another's poverty.
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From The New Yorker
Desai's second novel is set in the nineteen-eighties in the northeast corner of India, where the borders of several Himalayan statesBhutan and Sikkim, Nepal and Tibetmeet. At the head of the novel's teeming cast is Jemubhai Patel, a Cambridge-educated judge who has retired from serving a country he finds "too messy for justice." He lives in an isolated house with his cook, his orphaned seventeen-year-old granddaughter, and a red setter, whose company Jemubhai prefers to that of human beings. The tranquillity of his existence is contrasted with the life of the cook's son, working in grimy Manhattan restaurants, and with his granddaughter's affair with a Nepali tutor involved in an insurgency that irrevocably alters Jemubhai's life. Briskly paced and sumptuously written, the novel ponders questions of nationhood, modernity, and class, in ways both moving and revelatory.
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker
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Top customer reviews
This was how history moved, the slow build, the quick burn, and in an incoherence, the leaping both backward and forward, swallowing the young into old hate. The space between life and death, in the end, too small to measure.
I don't get why the ranking isn't a lot higher than it is.
This book is not one you will skim through. The story and the characters are complex as is the land and times they live in. So much of the book made me smile and laugh out loud. But there were numerous times I wanted to shout at the people and the situations. I have spent time in India and know its contradictions. I know how frustrating it is for a westerner to deal with its customs. But there is so much truth in this book that it was worth reading and rereading.
I recommend it to those readers willing to make an effort, but not to anyone who reads solely for pleasure and entertainment. I think you will be rewarded.
Most recent customer reviews
I received two copies (paperback) of this book which I was looking forward to reading as per the...Read more