The Inheritance of Loss
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Biju is told that there are no buses to Kalimpong because of the political situation. Biju catches a ride with some GNLF men. They take him most of the way before dropping him off and robbing him of all of his possessions, money, and clothing. He is forced to walk the rest of the way to Kalimpong. The major theme running throughout The Inheritance of Loss is one closely related to colonialism and the effects of post-colonialism: the loss of identity and the way it travels through generations as a sense of loss. Some characters snub those who embody the Indian way of life, others are angered by anglicised Indians who have lost their traditions; none is content. The narrative of The Inheritance Of Loss flits between New York, northern India and elsewhere, and also between the here and now, yesteryear and the judge’s childhood. And perhaps it flits too much, because the scenes are often cut short before the reader feels they have made a point.
In Chapter 5, Biju's life is highlighted again. Readers see all the kitchens in the basements in New York City where he has worked. Readers also witness his mistreatment by others who seem to despise him because he is from India. Biju is even looked down upon by Pakistanis, whom Biju personally feels are below him. He is confused because he must reassess his values. Biju realizes he is a servant like his father. In Chapter 48, Biju arrives at the Calcutta airport. He feels more comfortable than he has in many years. Biju pays the insurgents to take him to Kalimpong. On the way to Kalimpong, they take all his money and clothes and beat him. He takes a dress off of a clothesline and walks home. The book’s language, scenarios and juxtapositions are funny, threatening, vivid and tender all at the same time. The comic element, always riven through with irony, is most often to the fore, as characters grapple with a world much bigger than themselves, a world that only ever seems to admit them partially, and rarely on their own terms. The one criticism I have of the style is Kiran Desai’s propensity to offer up lists as comic devices, a technique that works a couple of times, but later has the reader scanning forward to the next substance. I say generally because occasionally Desai steps over the boundary between enjoyably rich and horribly cloying. Take the following, for instance: "a simple blind sea creature, but refusing to be refused … odd: insistent, but cowardly; pleading but pompous." That is how Desai renders a male "organ". There's also a whiff of sixth-form straining for profundity. A man who is blinded disappears "entirely inside the alcohol that has always given him solace". And when a light blows it diminishes "to a filament, tender as Edison's first miracle held between delicate pincers of wire in the glass globe of the bulb". From the start it is hard to engage with the characters as Desai chooses not to "formally" introduce them to the reader.The Inheritance of Loss is the second novel by Indian author Kiran Desai. It was first published in 2006. It won a number of awards, including the Booker Prize for that year, the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award in 2007,  and the 2006 Vodafone Crossword Book Award. In Chapter 2, the judge makes the cook go to the police to report the break-in. The police interrogate the cook, suggesting that it is he who instigated the crime because he is of a lower social class. The action focuses on the lives of Jemubhai Popatlal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge living in Kalimpong, his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, who moves to live with him and his cook. the author is obviously an intelligent writer, and she has a real mastery of language. much of the writing is somberly poetic. but perhaps she pays too much attention to detail..... the story is slow..... There's perhaps a small grain of truth to these claims. Desai certainly doesn't glorify Kalimpong's non-Indian majority. But the irony is that they get off lightly compared to everyone else. As she teases out her multiple narrative we meet over-privileged Indians who put on absurd English airs; racist, ignorant and distinctly under-intelligent English people; Indians in America who use Gandhi's image to make money while exploiting other Indians; and Indians in America who allow themselves to be exploited. Also, there are the Americans themselves, whose capitalist empire is perhaps the cruellest thing in the book. Nearly every character she focuses on is at some stage degraded and humiliated. Nearly every character also degrades and humiliates others. The "loss" of the title is physical, spiritual, and inescapable.
a b Italie, Hillel (9 March 2007). "Desai's 'Inheritance' Wins Book Critics Circle Award". The Washington Post . Retrieved 23 August 2013. The Inheritance Of Loss by Kiran Desai is a magnificent, impressive novel that ultimately is disappointing. As a process, the book is almost stunningly good. As a product, it falls short. One should not give up one’s religion, the principle of one’s parents and their parents before them. No, no matter what.Sai, Judge Patel's teenage granddaughter, moved to his estate, Cho Oyu, after her parents' untimely death in the Soviet Union. Sai, raised in convent schools, is introverted and disconnected from her Indian heritage. Under her grandfather's care, Sai lives in isolation, escaping her dreary existence by reading National Geographic magazines and colonial travelogues. Sai's closest companion and father figure is Judge Patel's servant, referred to as "the cook."