Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Inheritance of Loss - Kiran Desai

This book is set in the Himalayas in a dilapidated magazine, which is hope to three different people. Scattered around them is a community which is facing an upheaval as political unrest spreads through the locale. The house is owned by the judge, English-educated and retired from the judiciary. His orphaned granddaughter shares his home and is dealing with her first infatuation. The last member of the household is the cook, whose ambitions are tied up in the fortunes of his son, who is working a menial job in America.

I found the first part of the book to be quite slow. In fact it's nealrly glacial enough in it's pace to make you give up. However, perserverance is rewarded, to some degree at least. Desai raises interesting questions around the notion of national identity. Anglophile Indians who live comfortable isolated lives suddenly face nationalistic pride.

I did like this book, but I do wonder as to it's Booker Prize credentials. It is a good story, once you stick with it. It deals with a changing India, as well as relating some poignant individual stories. I would like to belive that it accurately portrays a life in India. A sense of decay and loss permeates the whole book. However, I just don't think that it's a great book.

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