Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai [in Bloomsbury Review]
Loss dominates the lives of the inhabitants of a crumbling, stately home on the Indian-Nepali border along the Himalayas. The Cambridge University-educated, self-hating judge’s isolated life is disrupted by the arrival of his young granddaughter, Sai, left orphaned when her parents are killed while in Russia where her father was in space training. The judge’s old cook is a surrogate parent of sorts to Sai as the elusive judge shows more concern for his dog, Mutt, that the meager humans that share his home.
Meanwhile, the cook is most intent on hearing from and writing to his son, Biju, who has immigrated to America, only to find himself trapped in a series of menial, illegal jobs in New York restaurants. In her second novel, the young Desai proves her literary legacy (her mother is the inimitable Anita Desai) as she deftly unfurls piece by disparate piece the stories of each of the lost souls searching for connection.
Reviews: “In Celebration of Asian Pacific American Month: A Literary Survey,” The Bloomsbury Review, May/June 2006
“TBR‘s Contributing Editors’ Favorite Reads of 2006: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things … in Print, That Is …,” The Bloomsbury Review, November/December 2006
Tidbits: As soon as the 2006 Booker longlist was announced, I swear I predicted Kirin Desai’s Booker win – making her the youngest female winner ever! – even when she was the longest of the long shots. Somehow I just knew. And how blessed were we to have her be part of SALTAF 2006 (South Asian Literary and Theater Arts Festival), a much-anticipated, highly-attended annual fall event sponsored by the Smithsonian APA Program and NetSAP-DC. Even The Washington Post was thrilled to see her at the Smithsonian … read all about the memorable event by clicking here.