The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai

Updated: Apr 8, 2020

The Inheritance of Loss isn’t the kind of book I’d pick up on a normal day. I’m quite set in my ways and tend to run to the same authors (like P.G. Wodehouse, Agatha Christie and Ruskin Bond). I suppose it’s to do with staying in my comfort zone. And yet, part of it is because I don’t know what else to read.

I recently started working at a publishing house where my primary work is writing about books for their blog. This means I have to read a lot of books-a lot of different books. Books on history are my favourite, but I read a mystery novel here and there to keep it interesting. Its lead me to be open towards trying new books. After all, I can just leave one halfway if I don’t like it…right?

*major cringe*

Despite common belief, I didn’t start reading this book for work. I’d heard the author’s name somewhere in passing. (Perhaps I saw another book by her and the name stuck.) One evening, I found this book in my friend’s bookshelf. I picked it up.

You know how we all have that one book that got caught out in the rain? This was my friend’s ‘that one book’. It was all bent out of shape and looked really really old. I was drawn to it immediately. (Note: I love old books, to the extent that I happily read my parent’s old copies of random books, just because they’re old)

“Oh, sounds like such a sad book!” everyone exclaimed upon hearing the title. But the summary caught my fancy. I’d never read such a book before. I started, and I was hooked from the word go.

It was the imagery of the book. Each sentence is bursting with expression and emotion. Kiran Desai starts by describing an old house in Darjeeling, and it brought out so much emotion in me. I felt as though I was there. I felt like I was the house, the people, the trees and everything. It felt like my story. And yet, of course it wasn’t! Not even close.

I don’t think I do justice to the impact this book has had on me, emotionally.

Apart from that though, I like that it’s based around a socio-political issue. Books that tell a story, while teaching you facts of the world are my new favourites. Based in Darjeeling, there is a civil unrest as the demand of a separate state Gorkhaland grows.

There isn’t a lot of happiness in the book, and yet it’s bursting with relevance. I can’t relate to any incident, yet it’s the emotions and the feelings that make me feel I’ve been right there where the characters are.

It’s even funny to call them ‘characters’ because they’re quite real to me. It’s like I once knew a Sai, a cook, a Judge and a Biju. They’re people I’ve seen and met. They’re people I’ve heard of. They’re me.

I think it’s time I admit I’m only halfway through the book, but I already feel like I’ll be hooked till the very end. Who knows? I may read the next page and decide to dump it…I may re-read it. Let’s see!

#Bookreview #Indianbooks #KiranDesai #travel


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