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The Inheritance of Loss Audio CD – Audiobook, Abridged


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Product details

  • Audio CD: 5 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (7 Jun 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141807660
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141807669
  • Product Dimensions: 12.5 x 2.4 x 14.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (84 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,922,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2006 "If book reviews just cut to the chase, this one would simply read: This is a terrific novel! Read it!" -Ann Harleman, "The Boston Globe" "One of the most impressive novels in English of the past year, and I predict you'll read it...with your heart in your chest, inside the narrative, and the narrative inside you." -Alan Cheuse, "Chicago Tribune" "[An] extraordinary new novel...lit by a moral intelligence at once fierce and tender." -Pankaj Mishra, front-cover review in "The New York Times Book Review" "If God is in the details, Ms. Desai has written a holy book. Page after page, from Harlem to the Himalayas, she captures the terror and exhilaration of being alive in the world." -Gary Shteyngart, author of "Absurdistan" "It's a clash of civilizations, even empires . . . The idea of an old empire, the British one collides against the nouveaux riche American one. The story ricochets between the two worlds, held together by Desai's sharp eyes and even sharper tongue. . . . This is a . . . substantial meal, taking on heavier issues of land and belonging, home and exile, poverty and privilege, and love and the longing for it." --Sandip Roy, "San Francisco Chronicle" (front page review) "Briskly paced and sumptuously written, the novel ponders questions of nationhood, modernity, and class, in ways both moving and revelatory." --"The New Yorker" "Editor's Choice ... Kiran Desai writes beautifully about powerless people as they tangle with the modern world and in so doing she casts her own powerful spell." --Elizabeth Taylor, "Chicago Tribune" "An endearing view of globalisation . . . The Inheritance of Loss is a book about tradition and modernity, the past and the future-and about the surprising ways both amusing and sorrowful, in which they all connect. . . . A wide variety of readers should enjoy." --Boyd Tonkin, "The Independent" (London) "Impressive . . . a big novel --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Kiran Desai was born in India in 1971, and was educated in India, England, and the United States. She is the author of the critically acclaimed Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.

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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Juliet Platt on 20 Jan 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to disagree with many reviews of this book: I found it compelling, entertaining, beautifully written and thought-provoking. Anyone who has spent any period of their life living away from home for whatever reason will identify with the distracted difficulty of living "in a single existence at one time" that this book evokes.

I concede that it is a little flawed in structure and style, however I found the writing to be astonishingly lucid, humorous and insightful. The novel is built from a series of vignettes, some of which read almost as discrete short stories, some of which are as short as a couple of sentences. This approach is effective in portraying impactful images of setting and experience, and in supporting the theme of historical incoherence, where events develop almost of their own accord, nudged along by the naive and ignorant actions of people.

Elsewhere the themes of displacement, the complexity of distance, nostalgia, alienation from self and others, inauthenticity, foreign-ness, self-consciousness and human weakness across the generations are all played out under the shadow of Kanchenjunga mountain, the ultimate representation of truth and authenticity.

Desai throws us into the alienation experience of her characters by peppering her prose with unfamiliar Indian words. With the exception of Sai, Gyan and Biju, she identifies key characters either by their occupation or their nickname, in order to emphasise the mask of persona and lack of authentic will in each. Much more is made of the judge's affection for his pet dog Mutt than of the story of young love between Sai and Gyan, though in the end, youthful truth, love, wisdom and honesty provide precarious glimmers of hope and redemption.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Ralph Blumenau TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Jun 2007
Format: Paperback
From the first page the reader is struck by the extraordinary richness and brilliance of the author's imagery (though this is less consistent as the novel proceeds), and soon afterwards by the delineation the characters who are living in or near Kalimpong, under Kanchenjunga, the Himalayan peak on the border between India and Nepal. Living in an isolated house outside Kalimpong are Jemubhai Patel, a crusty, embittered and rage-filled retired judge who had withdrawn into this remote corner of India; his orphaned granddaughter Sai, for whom he needs has to provide a home and a tutor to teach her; and the judge's long-serving cook, who basks in the reflected glory of what the judge once was, and, above all, in the pride that he has a son, Biju, `working for the Americans', unaware of the menial jobs he is doing in New York as an illegal immigrant, along with the flotsam of other illegals from all over the Third World. With the exception of the cook, none of the book's main characters, especially the western-educated ones, really know where they belong when the clash of cultures becomes an issue.

For in that particular corner of India the Nepalese are the majority population, and the area is plagued by the rise and increasing activity of the Gorkha National Liberation Front with its demands for an independent Gorkhaland. Class is also an issue here. In the second half of the book, the activities of these people impinges on all the characters in the book: on the elderly middle-class and anglicised Indians in the area, but also on the unnamed poor caught between the violence of the rebels and the brutality of the police. The young are also affected: Gyan, Sai's tutor, is a poor but educated Nepali; and initially they are very much in love.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on 11 Feb 2006
Format: Hardcover
Writing with wit and perception, Kiran Desai creates an elegant and thoughtful study of families, the losses each member must confront alone, and the lies each tells to make memories of the past more palatable. Sai Mistry is a young girl whose education at an Indian convent school comes to an end in the mid-1980s, when she is orphaned and sent to live with her grandfather, a judge who does not want her and who offers no solace. Living in a large, decaying house, her grandfather considers himself more British than Indian, far superior to hard-working but poverty-stricken people like his cook, Nandu, whose hopes for a better life for his son are the driving force in his life.
The story of Sai, living in Kalimpong, near India's northeast border with Nepal, alternates with that of Biju, Nandu's son, an illegal immigrant trying to find work and a better life in America. Biju, working in a series of deadend jobs, epitomizes the plight of the illegal immigrant who has no future in his own country and who endures deplorable conditions and semi-servitude working illegally in the US. As Desai explores the aspirations of Sai and Biju, the hopes and expectations of their families, and their disconnections with their roots, she also creates vivid pictures of the friends and relatives who surround them, creating a vibrant picture of a broad cross-section of society and revealing the social and political history of India.
Though Sai's romance, at sixteen, with Gyan, her tutor, provides her with an emotional escape from Kalimpong, it soon becomes complicated by Gyan's involvement with the Gorkha National Liberation Federation, a Nepalese independence movement which quickly becomes bloody.
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