Wednesday, August 11, 2010

#28 The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

The Inheritance of LossThe Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai is in a tiny village at the foot of one of the Himalayan mountains. Living in a crumbling house there is a retired judge and his live-in cook. The judge is basically unhappy with the entire world and everyone and everything in it, except for his little dog Mutt.

One day his orphaned granddaughter arrives and he's forced to take her in though he pays her little mind. Sai, is watched over by the cook and educated by various tutors in the village, eventually falling in love with one of them. The cook does his job distractedly as his thoughts are almost entirely consumed by those of his only son, Biju, who he'd sent to America in search of a better life. Biju is living in New York and jumping from one crappy job to another trying to stay one step ahead of the INS in his search for the all important green card which he remarks "wasn't even green".

As the story progresses, each character grows more and more embittered with life in general. The cook is consumed with worry for his son. Biju grows disillusioned with life in America, crappy jobs, apartments full of immigrants, and a life that is nothing like he'd imagined. Sai and her tutor, Gyan, are in the first stages of love when an Indian-Nepali insurgency takes place in their village and threatens to pull them apart. Gyan is Nepali and sucked into the insurgency and is stuck between his heritage and his Indian love and begins to pull away from her as life for everyone in the village begins to crumble.

Overall, I thought the book was just...meh. I have no strong feelings one way or another. It wasn't awful but it wasn't fantastic either. It's not a book that I will pick up again but it wasn't a complete waste of 2 days. It's basically a book about shitty things happening to a varied group of people. However, I never really grew to care about any of the characters so I didn't much care when anything happened to them. I remained completely emotionally unattached. Sure, there were moments of "Oh, well that sucks" but nothing that struck a cord in me or really made me feel anything. Maybe, the deeper message went over my head but I just didn't get what is so great about it. There wasn't much resolution and the story ends a little abruptly but I didn't really care by that point. So, it wasn't an awful book or anything, just a little story that left me with no real lasting impression.

1 comment:

Rummanah Aasi said...

I really wanted to love this book, because I think the plot description had everything going for it, but I couldn't finish it. I think I stopped maybe half way and thought "meh" as well. I did read the author's mother's book for a Post Colonial Lit class in college that was pretty good. Course can't remember the title now. LOL!

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