The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

About the book

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.

Reviewed by White Lion Group:

Very thought provoking resulting in a lot of discussion. Very well written. Sad, but appropriate ending. Very enlightening about the history and culture of India.

Star rating: ***

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5 thoughts on “The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai”

  1. Review by Museum Book Group:
    We enjoyed reading this book as it addresses many problems still relevant today. Well drawn characters with good background detail. A sad book with little hope.
    Star rating: ***

  2. Review by October Books Reading Group:
    Some readers found the episodic structure very off-putting. Those who stuck with it found it bleak but beautifully written.
    Star rating: ***

  3. Review by King’s Somborne Reading Group:
    Superb imagery and descriptive prose but many unsympathetic characters and incoherent/incomplete plot. Possibly a young writer who will mature. Some members disliked the short, disjointed chapter style. Others enjoyed the style and felt it suited the broken nature of the times and events described in the story.
    Star rating: ***

  4. Review by Boaters Book Club:
    Two of the group enjoyed the book for several reasons and would read it again; the rest of us were disappointed, though all, with one exception, found the descriptive passages delightful, evocative and devoid of clichés. Most felt that there was insufficient plot and that it was rather like a collection of short stories; some felt no sympathy with the characters and thought the author failed to engage their interest. Its view of Indian culture was depressingly realistic, despite moments of humour, and most felt that the book failed to resolve anything much.
    Star rating: **

  5. Review by The Democrats Reading group:
    A really good reading group choice. Most of the group were enthusiastic about the book; there were some reservations about the ending and whether the characters were difficult to engage with. The rich, vivid and visual description and the use of humour – at times, laugh out loud humour – juxtaposed with passages describing harsh emotions and actions are a real strength of the novel. The use of “voice” is impressive and the insight the book affords into cultural issues and aspects of life in a different part of the world is enlightening and stimulating. the novel generated excellent discussion.
    Star rating: ***

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