Books

The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss is a book by Kiran Desai.

Kiran Desai

In a crumbling, isolated house at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga in the Himalayas lives an embittered judge who wants only to retire in peace, when his orphaned granddaughter, Sai, arrives on his doorstep. The judge's cook watches over her distractedly, for his thoughts are often on his son, Biju, who is hopscotching from one gritty New York restaurant to another. Kiran Desai's brilliant novel, published to huge acclaim, is a story of joy and despair. Her characters face numerous choices that majestically illuminate the consequences of colonialism as it collides with the modern world. (From Grove Press)

Kiran Desai, daughter of novelist Anita Desai, is an Indian-born bestselling author. Her first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, received the Betty Trask Prize from the British Society of Authors in 1998. When she won the Booker Prize for The Inheritance of Loss, she became the youngest female writer to win the award.

From the book

All day, the colors had been those of dusk, mist moving like a water creature across the great flanks of mountains possessed of ocean shadows and depths. Briefly visible above the vapor, Kanchenjunga was a far peak whittled out of ice, gathering the last of the light, a plume of snow blown high by the storms at its summit.
 

Sai, sitting on the veranda, was reading an article about giant squid in an old National Geographic. Every now and then she looked up at Kanchenjunga, observed its wizard phosphorescence with a shiver. The judge sat at the far corner with his chessboard, playing against himself. Stuffed under his chair where she felt safe was Mutt the dog, snoring gently in her sleep. A single bald lightbulb dangled on a wire above. It was cold, but inside the house, it was still colder, the dark, the freeze, contained by stone walls several feet deep.


From The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai ©2006. Published by Grove Press.

Interviews with Kiran Desai

The Indian writer and Booker Prize winner discusses her novel The Inheritance of Loss. 51:26

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