In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge who wants to retire in peace, then his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. When a Nepalese insurgency in the mountains causes their lives to descend into chaos, they too are forced to confront their colliding interests. Winner of the 2006 Booker Prize.
Published to extraordinary acclaim, The Inheritance of Loss heralds
Kiran Desai as one of our most insightful novelists. She illuminates
the pain of exile and the ambiguities of postcolonialism with a
tapestry of colorful characters: an embittered old judge; Sai, his
sixteen-year-old orphaned granddaughter; a chatty cook; and the cooks
son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one miserable New York restaurant
to another, trying to stay a step ahead of the INS.
In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga lives an embittered old judge who wants to retire in peace, then his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep.
When a Nepalese insurgency in the mountains threatens Sais new-sprung romance with her handsome tutor, their lives descend into chaos. The cook witnesses Indias hierarchy being overturned and discarded. The judge revisits his past and his role in Sai and Bijus intertwining lives. A story of depth and emotion, hilarity and imagination, The Inheritance of Loss tells of love, longing, futility, and loss that is Desais true territory (O: The Oprah Magazine).
All day, the
colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature
across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and
depths. Briefly visible above the vapor, Kanchenjunga was a far peak
whittled out of ice, gathering the last of the light, a plume of snow
blown high by the storms at its summit.
Sai, sitting on the veranda, was reading an article about giant squid in an old National Geographic. Every now and then she looked up at Kanchenjunga, observed its wizard phosphorescence with a shiver. The judge sat at the far corner with his chessboard, playing against himself. Stuffed under his chair where she felt safe was Mutt the dog, snoring gently in her sleep. A single bald lightbulb dangled on a wire above. It was cold, but inside the house, it was still colder, the dark, the freeze, contained by stone walls several feet deep.
Here, at the back, inside the cavernous kitchen, was the cook, trying to light the damp wood. He ...
Conflict in the 1980s: The area around Darjeeling in North East India (map) is populated primarily
by Gorkhas (also known as Gurkhas) whose ancestors founded the Kingdom of Nepal;
they have long wanted an independent state. Massive violence broke out
between 1986 and 1988 but was resolved with the establishment of the Darjeeling
Gorkha Hill Council within West Bengal. Although some still push for
statehood rather than autonomy, it seems there is not the political will at this
time to press on. For example, there was a large rally in 2005 to revive
the demand for a separate state but the issue did not more forward.
Gurkhas take their name from the Hindu warrior-saint Guru Gorakhnath. The ...
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