Friday, 25 June 2010

The Inheritance of Loss

I don't quite know what to write about The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai, apart from the title is perfect. If ever a novel had the right title then this is the novel. Right on page two we have this sentence.
'Could fulfilment ever be felt as deeply as loss?'
We journey with four main characters
'these were four shadow puppets from a fairytale flickering on the lumpy plaster of the wall - a lizard man, a hunch marked cook, a lush-lashed maiden, and a long-tailed wolf dog....'

There are moments of light heartedness, tender touches.
'Ah, the dumpling stage of love-it had set them off on a tumble of endearments and nicknames. They thought of them in quiet moments and placed them before each other like gifts.'
But yet oh the hatred between couples.
'... the dread they had for each other was so severe it was as if they had tapped into a limitless bitterness carrying them beyond the parameters of what any individual is normally capable of feeling. They belonged to this emotion more than to themselves, experienced rage with enough muscle in it for entire nations...'
Reading plays a large part in their lives, especially English authors, and another moment of humour.
'I always said,' she turned to the others in a frivolous fashion, ' that I would save Trollope for my dotage; I knew it would be a perfect slow indulgence when I had nothing much to do and, well, here I am. Old fashioned books is what I like.'
Like all of us they're trying to make sense of, understand who they are, in the country they live in, at this moment in time.
'How many lived in the fake version of their countries, in fake versions of other people's countries? Did their lives feel as unreal to them as his did to him?'
I don't think this review tells the story. Partly as I don't know how to without giving things away. So instead I've tried to show some of the emotions of the novel. My over riding memory is of The Inheritance of Loss. It moved me, it made me feel desperately sad yet there were also glimmers of hope in it and that's what I shall hold onto.

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Ooh how lovely more stripes on the page...
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