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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Having left, it is never really possible to return
This is a beautifully written novel. It has been written by an author with a clear eye for intuitive observation as well as a superior ability to use words as effective tools.

The setting is cultural and familial dislocation for individuals as they move between countries. We follow this through social events, political upheaval and the weight of individual and...
Published on Feb. 27 2007 by Jennifer Cameron-Smith

versus
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Writing Need to be Woven Together
The Inheritance of Loss won the Man Booker Prize 2006. While Kiran Desai showed her strong writing ability with this book, I can think of other books more worthy of the prestigious award. The characters were not fleshed out very well and it was hard to relate to any of them. I also sound that Desai jumps around too much from character and different time frames to make...
Published on April 28 2007 by Teddy


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful Writing Need to be Woven Together, April 28 2007
By 
Teddy (Richmond, BC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
The Inheritance of Loss won the Man Booker Prize 2006. While Kiran Desai showed her strong writing ability with this book, I can think of other books more worthy of the prestigious award. The characters were not fleshed out very well and it was hard to relate to any of them. I also sound that Desai jumps around too much from character and different time frames to make a smooth, flowing story. I don't believe it is a difference in culture, as I have read many books from Indian Authors, about Indian characters that I have loved. For instance 'A Fine Balance' by Rohinton Mistry and 'A Suitable Boy' by Vikram Seth. Desai however writes strong prose and I look forward to trying 'Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard'. I think Desai has potential to be a great writer and hopefully her future books will prove this.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Having left, it is never really possible to return, Feb. 27 2007
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
This is a beautifully written novel. It has been written by an author with a clear eye for intuitive observation as well as a superior ability to use words as effective tools.

The setting is cultural and familial dislocation for individuals as they move between countries. We follow this through social events, political upheaval and the weight of individual and collective expectations. While the primary characters are Indian and the countries involved are India, the USA and the UK, many of the observations and challenges identified would be common to all who move from the 'the known' to 'the unknown'.

The saddest lesson of all, perhaps, is that having left, one can never really return.

The primary characters are each in their own way outsiders: the Judge and his orphaned grand-daughter, the cook and his son. The cook's son carries the weight of expectations and need of an entire community of extended families as he tries to make it in the USA.

This is a novel to enjoy, and to think about.

Highly recommended

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Loss of Purpose., July 31 2007
By 
maya j (Quail Crossing) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
'The Inheritance of Loss' begins with a teenage girl, her grandfather, his dog, and a servant/cook, and the lush descriptions of their location in India create a vivid picture of not only where they live but also how they live. After the initial introduction of characters, there is an incident that leads the reader to believe this book will be more of a political novel with musings about the Kashmiri and Nepali uprisings during the '80s. Well, while it does continue with this as a backdrop, it doesn't go that deep. It ambles on in a semi-comical and farcical manner, meandering through the lives of a multitude of people. As you wind your way through the book, the images of life and the mundane aspects of what a certain character does all day- eating, squatting, squashing a bug- are so effusively and evocatively conveyed, you have a vibrant colorful image of the backdrop, scenery and day to day activities; however, when it comes to developing a character's innate personality, Kiran Desai seems to have trouble delving deep into that person's psyche. The characters are so flat and hollow that the one piddling love story was really unbelievable. I had no feelings whatsoever concerning the young girl and her love interest. It was one of the most empty and stale love stories I've ever read. I liken the flat character aspect to a movie with the most incredible scenery you could ever imagine, and then here comes, tromping across the screen, cardboard cutouts for people. There were moments of lucidity about the Indian and Nepali predicament and the plight of humanity, so, for speaking in generalities like this, she was great- she just couldn't transfer this insight to any depth of her characters.

Finally, 'The Inheritance of Loss' basically is plot-less; therefore, you should have no expectations of what the ending will be. About 2/3 of the way through the book, you realize that this book is just beautiful writing infused with some political musings, and other than that, there really is no purpose to it. Although readable, 'The Inheritance of Loss' can be daunting in its unconstrained descriptiveness and use of abstract words. It also is incomplete and doesn't end in any way you think it should...it just ends. If you like flowery language and imagery, you'll love it, but if you're looking for deep character development and a strong plot line with a wrapped-up ending, this isn't for you.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A most incredible book, Dec 9 2006
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
With setting ranging from New York to India, this book reminded me at times of KITE RUNNER. But the comparison ended there. This was one of three books I recently pick out of the blue and it turned out to be great. (the other two were MIDDLESEX by Eugenides and the quirky and funny KATZENJAMMER by McCrae---both of which were equally good and TOTALLY different from INHERITANCE OF LOSS. If you're looking for a book that has exotic locales and characters that jump off the page, INHERITANCE will work for you. If you want a page turner that zips along, this might not be the road to take. I still recommend it highly, along with the novel A LONG WAY DOWN by Hornby.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Reverse Passage to India Filled with Wit, March 24 2008
By 
Donald Mitchell "Jesus Loves You!" (Thanks for Providing My Reviews over 124,000 Helpful Votes Globally) - See all my reviews
(#1 HALL OF FAME)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Inheritance Of Loss (Paperback)
If you like humorous books about how people live self-sabotaging lives to preserve their illusions of superiority, The Inheritance of Loss will delight you. If you prefer a novel that carries a strong plot line and significant developments you cannot predict, you'll wonder why anyone would read this book.

As I read the book, I was reminded of P.G. Wodehouse's writing. Mr. Wodehouse's novels were all rather similar, silly, and filled with predictable situations. But on each page there was a sentence that was so novel, fresh, and intriguing that it would stop your eyes while you thought about what you had just read.

Ms. Desai demonstrates a similar ability to create startling writing, but in her case the writing brings out loud laughter . . . at least it does for me. My wife said she hadn't heard me laugh so much while reading a book in years.

Here's an example. A group of young men is demonstrating in favor of independence. One talks about a better world he wants to create: "We will provide jobs for our sons. We will give dignity to our daughters carrying heavy loads, breaking stone on the road." That vision of male liberation has to make you laugh.

The other genius of the book is demonstrated by the ironies that Ms. Desai shares with us to suggest that our dreams are pretty dangerous. Why are they so dangerous? Dreams assume we control what happens to use. Ms. Desai is describing a world where someone with a sense of humor is running the show. For example, her father strives hard to become an astronaut . . . but loses his life in a mundane accident in a country he would never have visited if he hadn't had such a dream.

You could draw the conclusion from that example that Ms. Desai is a cynic. Actually, she loves people and finds them comically naive when it comes to pursuing their dreams. Her prescription would be to get some good information and then choose a direction that is practical for accomplishing something you want. Too many of the dreams she portrays are about class, status, and envy. Those dreams should always be suspect. Her vision is of a world where those perceptions should be no longer relevant, as A Passage to India taught.

I liked the way that she combined the ideas of people traveling to other countries and to other parts of Asia in search of something that they thought they couldn't find at home. That's why I called the book a reverse Passage to India. The most developed characters in this book are Indians who left India for at least a time in search of their dreams.

Be prepared for much fun. The book's main drawback from my perspective is that the humorous sentences thinned out considerably in the final third of the book, giving the ending a tone that didn't match the earlier fun. The marvelous ironies continue but they aren't so much fun.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful narrative and scathing analysis of colonial residue, Jan. 15 2009
By 
J. Pollock - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
Wonderfully powerful novel. Using postcolonialism as a framework for her narrative Desai's critical approach is enthralling. The examination of the ways generations have literally inherited the losses of colonization is at the crux of the novel. Brilliantly written through the nuanced perspective of a multitude of characters. My one reservation may be that The Inheritance of Loss too easily engages in a dependency theory-esque portrayal of the world along core-periphery, empowered-disempowered lines without looking more at the ways this picture is shifting and complex. Nevertheless, her indictment of liberal celebrations of globalization, as a backdrop for her narrative, is scathing and well crafted.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty and moral inquiry, Nov. 9 2008
By 
Endless Page (Toronto, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Inheritance Of Loss (Paperback)
An enigmatic beauty suffuses this book. As others have noted, it is not a conventionally-plotted story arc, but a set of portraits of those who have accepted subjugation (and paid with their souls), those with a glimmering consciousness of that price, and those yearning for the good "Western" life, riding the coattails of the global economy. The characters meet, interlock, separate, and in between are passages of intensity, comedy, philosphy and a bit of slapstick.

Rarely has the political been presented so personally, in aching passages leavened with sly wit. I'd call this book a near-masterpiece.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing but..., July 10 2007
By 
Usman Hamid (Montreal, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
Let us make no bones about it, Desai is a master craftsman of the english language. The booker prize increasingly is being given to writers with imaginative and strong command of the english language as opposed to the best novels and so when I picked up The Inheritance of Loss I was a little wary. Desai's characters and the lack of any substantial story are the weak points of this otherwise fine and powerful piece of work. The characters are either so vapid or one dimensional that one is often left wondering why is one bothering to read about them. There is certainly no story or plot to follow, no mystery to unravel, no journey the characters go on that makes any impact on them. What keeps one going back to Desai's novel is the beauty of her prose. It exists between creative and poetic and therefore can be enjoyed on its own. However for those seeking memerable characters or a book that has a point of view, an issue or the semblance of a story The Inheritance of Loss should be thoroughly ignored.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, Sept. 27 2007
By 
SanchoM (Charlotte, NC) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
I am glad I picked this book to amongst those to read this month. I enjoyed it from the start to finish. An appealing setting, fast pace and fascinating characters made me to read it the second time.It features with titles like The Usurper and Others, Good Earth,Bookseller of Kabul as culturally distinct books that I enjoyed.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, Nov. 8 2006
By 
Sancho (North Carolina) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Inheritence of Loss (Paperback)
I am glad I picked this book to amongst those to read this month. I enjoyed it from the start to finish. An appealing setting, fast pace and fascinating characters made me to read it the second time.It features with titles like The Usurper and Others, Good Earth,Bookseller of Kabul as culturally distinct books that I enjoyed.
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The Inheritence of Loss
The Inheritence of Loss by Kiran Desai (Paperback - Jan. 20 2006)
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