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The Inheritance of Loss    by Kiran Desai order for
Inheritance of Loss
by Kiran Desai
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2007 (2005)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, CD
* *   Reviewed by Michael Graves

The Inheritance of Loss, which won the Man Booker Prize in 2006, starts and ends in Kalimpong, a hill station situated near Mount Kangchenjunga of the Himalayas. This beautiful, idyllic village becomes spoiled by the Gorkhas' revolution to promote a Nepali identity separate from India.

The story is multi-layered with interesting characters as diverse as the cultures that influence them. The village is surrounded by Nepal, Tibet, China, Pakistan and India. In Kalimpong the main characters are a retired judge, his niece and the cook.

Another facet of the story explores the experiences of an illegal immigrant, the son of the cook, as he tries to survive in the urban mix of Manhattan after seemingly fortuitous events that led him away from his rural upbringing. Here we explore the fantasy of the immigrant life in the new world and a growing loss of identity.

The narrative covers a wide spectrum of emotions: first loves, generosity of human interaction, human tragedies and the violence of a civil uprising. Throughout the author does an impressive job of in depth character analysis in circumstances far removed from the Western experience.

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