Book Review: The Inheritance of Loss

82-pages and I cannot take it anymore. 2006 Booker prize winner The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai was the inheritance of misery to say the least.

The writing is painfully poetic. The sentences are badly constructed and 5-lines long. They are full of big words, and so witless – not to mention pointless – that you loose focus and then wonder what she is going on about. She has tried too hard to be funny by using Hinglish frequently which hasn’t worked at all; and everything is irrelevantly over-described, be it Pond’s Cold Cream, mist over a mountain or the illegal yellow paint on the taxi of an Indian taxi driver in New York. Goodness gracious me.

The characters are the most boring characters I can remember. 50-pages into the book and even if one of the characters physically jumped out of the book and put a feather under my nose, I wouldn’t react.

The Grandfather Indian judge in the book is a pretentious miserable old prat. His Grandaughter Sai is this innocent rabbit of a girl with no personality. The cook who is the servant of the house – poor guy hasn’t even been given a name until now. Biju, the cook’s son who has gone to NY to live the American dream is tolerable, but just about.

The stories of these characters that run in parallel so far have no coherence and do not link in any intelligent way. Unimaginative and annoying characters (with even more annoying names) like Uncle Potty (translate:Uncle Shit), and Major Aloo (Major Potato) and Father Booty (!?) keep coming in and out randomly with no purpose.


I had promised myself that I would finish the book before I rape it’s review, but reading further just seems like a waste of time. To my utter disappointment, most other reviews on Amazon have limitless praise for this book – except this one from a dude who also thought it was awful but atleast finished it.

How on earth did she get a Booker?


  1. >>How on earth did she get a Booker? (didn’t read the whole post)
    Oops. Was planning to check out her book, but I think I’ll postpone the idea.
    I really like Anita Desai’s work, thats why I was planning to read this one. Thought that Kiran Desai might have some of her mothers influences.

  2. I think that Desai was carried away by her intellectualizing, and in the process, forgot about good writing, character development, and so forth. One thing I’d like to ask: did anyone else notice the peculiar fixation on shitting in the book? My only explanation is that the shitting is a motif which emphasizes what all the characters have in common: the fact that they have all endured some form of humiliation. And what could be more humiliating than shit? (There are even the names “Uncle Potty” and “Father Booty”)!

  3. i agree with all those who find this novel boring to the limit. it is not captivating and it seems that it is a mere inheritance of name for the author which won her a booker.

  4. was reading Inheritance of Loss and came across your site trying to look for people who also thought that the book was complete crap.
    If her mother was not Anita Desai, this woman would not have won anything.

  5. I agree with all the people here. The book is outright boring and none of the characters leave any mark on you. I think I am better off reading the fine novels by Rohinton Mistry.

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