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Shvoong Home>Books>Novels & Novellas>The Inheritance of Loss (a Novel) Review

The Inheritance of Loss (a Novel)

Book Review   by:VijaiKSharma     Original Author: Kiran Desai
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--- This novel is set in 1980s. A retired judge lives in Kalimpong at the foot of a hill in an old, isolated and damp house. Having found that the world is too messy, he wants to live in peace. But it does not happen that way. His granddaughter Ms Sai, a fourteen old girl was living under strict discipline in a convent. When she gets orphaned, she arrives at the house of her maternal grandfather, who has to  look after her life now, for which he takes help of his cook. She finds a friend in this old cook, who has lost his wife. But the cook is worried about his son Biju, who is in New York, USA as an illegal immigrant, trying to get a green card. Biju jumps from one job to another and continues to live in USA under terrible conditions. While USA is a land of opportunities, such persons are paid less and are  always under fear. Presumably such persons go to USA for money or convenience of good roads, good public transport system, good law and order system, court cases not dragging on for several years or ego factor of their parents. Later on, finally under despair, hopelessness and homesickness, Biju returns to his home in the hills. The father-son duo has great love for each other.
 
For teaching Mathematics to Sai, a young Nepalese tutor Gyan is hired. But while the process of teaching-learning is going on, romance develops between them with strong desires for each other, but he feels inferior. He joins the liberators of his homeland as Gorkhaland  insurgency, to throw out the foreigners. This creates uneasiness in their relationship, since they start considering their own conflicting interests. Gyan is confused since Sai’s charms repulse him now. Sai is helpless too. Also later during one of her rare visits to the cook’s hut, both of them observed that they were not at ease, due to their language problem, though cook had affection for her. Sai’s life thus has several problems.
There are some other characters in the novel like Lola and Noni sisters, Swiss Father Potty, Saeed and Afghani princesses etc. The author has depicted the characters well, along with descriptions of mountains, beautiful landscape, people and seasons. The novel also describes the thoughts of Biju about the tall grass and sound of wind etc. of his village life with his grandmother. But in their lives things land into chaos. The human values of characters are revealed as loving, hating and confused. It brings out issues like globalization, economic inequality, multi-culturism, fundamentalism, terrorism and insurgency, existence of immigrants and their isolated lives. It depicts the effects of colonialism, global conflicts of religion, race and nationalism. But there is sympathy for each of the characters, being affected due to human failings. Some of the questions which come up are conflicting aspects of globalization, colonialism and corrupt Governments etc. There is narration of various types of situations for example sad, funny, tender, and hopeful and of betrayal. It provides detailed descriptions, comparison, humour and joy. It covers love, longing, losses and lack of trust of persons in each other. It depicts the busy life and the different types of inner lives in two places, one with poverty and another with prosperity. It covers poverty and wealth, east and west. It provides intimate details in an artistic manner. It gives moving account of immigrant life in an extraordinary way. The book is excellent and worth reading.
Published: May 27, 2010   
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  1. Answer   Question  :    COLONIALISM ( 1 Answer ) View All
  1. Answer  :    Thanks 4 Ur question, but it is not clear. This word means: (a)making settlements in a new country, exploition by a strong country of weaker one and using weaker nation's resources to strengthen and enrich the stronger country. (b)It also means in another context, capitalistic exploitation of working class, paying less & charging more & victimization. U may kindly give rating & also Ur comments 4 this review. Thanks 4 the question. Monday, November 28, 2011
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