I enjoyed parts of this novel, divided into two narratives - the granddaughter of a judge in the Himalayas and the son of their cook in New York City. It is set during the time of Nepali nationalism and anarchy in northern India. However, it is a little uneven and too long. It somewhat peters out at the end.
I completely agree with this comment, "I found it a little depressing, and a little boring. The ending.....well......what ending!"
In Kalimpong, at the foot of the Himalayas, a region disputed by India and Nepal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge, his orphaned grand-daughter, and his cook struggle with their cultural identity, modernization, and the ambiguities of post-colonialism. The winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize, this novel comes highly recommended.
If you like a complex plot line, overwhelming social injustice and individual hubris and stupidity then read this book. Tolstoy it is not. The author does not respect her readers, it feels like 1,000 pages of stream of consciousness writing bouncing between USA and India. This book was a challenge to my powers of concentration.
Started September 11, 2012 Finished October 4, 2012 (also read the 3 Prison Diaries by Jeffrey Archer in this time).......This book really didn't do a thing for me. (my sister either) I found it a little depressing, and a little boring. The ending.....well......what ending!
Both heavy and light at times, this book shows layer upon layer of life, loss, love, ambition, escape, denial, hatred, and almost every other emotion you can think of.
I was caught up in both the amazing prose and the intriguing intertwining stories: the Sisyphean struggle of love and comfort against culture and politics, the struggle for cultural identity and survival on a shrinking planet.
The title seemed almost a contradiction. But culture is truly our first and perhaps most precious inheritance, poignantly so in an age where the idea of "culture" itself, it could be argued, is on the verge of extinction. Cultures thrive in isolation. In a world that depends on immigration, illegal immigration, and displaced populations, "culture" becomes the villain in romance, the obstacle to success, the instigator of tragedy or, in this case, irony.
Kiran Desai makes the reader laugh and cry almost with the same sentence. The foibles of a retired judge, his granddaughter, his cook, and the cook's son are more than character flaws revealed in the turmoil of an insurgency. They are the inevitable cultural baggage we carry to our own detriment in our relations with others and our consolation when we oh so cautiously peer into the mirror.
Inheritance takes some effort especially on the part of the non-Indian/ non-Nepalese reader; Desai is not a connector of all the dots, but the reward for reading her is huge for anyone interested in the human condition, the human heart.
A beautifully written novel that got me thinking about the long-term effects of colonialism.
2006 Man Booker Prize
Very interesting book. Full of colourful characters: One being a young girl who falls in love with her tutor who has some involvement with local uprising; a grandfather who did his higher education in England when he was young ; and a young man who tries to survive as a dishwasher/cook in New York city without work permit.
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