Yes, eventually, I managed to finish this heavy read. This Booker winner, this book of so many feelings. This amazing book. Yes, I am talking about The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai- daughter of another genius Anita Desai.
Now, do not get me wrong. It was not an uphill task to finish this book. It was a breezy read but it reads such that you do not want it to end. You know that no matter what happens, the end will disappoint because it won’t be as beautiful as the premise. The book is set in two backgrounds- one in America where Biju- an illegal immigrant from India struggles to fight his fate and the other in Kalimpong where Sai lives with her grandfather Jemubhai, a retired Judge. Kalimpong is going through the Gorkha insurgency and there are riots and anarchy everywhere.
There are many stories in it. Uncle Potty in Kalimpong- a Swiss national struggling in India, trying to make it its own. Sai- falling in love with her mathematics teacher and then realizing how different are their worlds. Jemubhai- living in part remorse and part pride, he is the most detestable character of the book. Biju- the poor cook’s poor son who inherits his father’s poverty.
Desai has written all the stories with a feminine poise. You can feel the heartbeats and raging emotions with every page. There is touch of humour that makes one sad. The author doesn’t take sides. Everyone is right. Even the wife-beater Jemubhai is shown to be a human being which he is. The human touch makes the novel a complex read. You have no one to hate or love in the book. So, there is no reason to read on except for the impeccable language and wit.
The ending disappoints where the author just leaves things as they are. She goes too neutral for my taste and the end is not even emphatic. In her defence, there was no good way to end such a book anyway. It is written in third person but it ends like a diary. There is no grand ending, or a buildup for the same.
The novel is not meant for a quick read. It requires to be read in solitude, taking in every line like a sip of wine. The book also is good for second and third readings. The scenes are very real and there is no enigma quotient. Just real people. A lot of Hindi words have made their way in the book including the curse words.
As far as the mood of the book goes, it is quite sad and leaves one hopeless and yet, you do not feel like crying or venting. It is the more biting kind of sadness that arises out of helplessness. Humour arises in the irony of those sad situations.
A fantastic job, a fantastic book. Read it a textbook for ‘Irony’.
5 stars! *****