When both of her parents die suddenly, a young girl is sent to live with her grandfather in Kalimpong in the 1980’s. The son of her grandfather’s cook is sent to America to find fortune. Both are not where they should be and both have inherited the loss of their families failures.
Sai is restless living with her taciturn grandfather. She is also naive enough to believe that young love is the salvation she has been yearning for. Sent away to school by her parents and virtually ignored by her grandfather, it is no wonder she clings to the first person who seems to notice her.
Justice Jemubhai Patel seems to prefer the company of his dog, Mutt, more than the company of the people around him. Sent to England by his father, he now looks down upon his fellow Indians even after realizing he was never accepted by the British. He turned his self loathing into cruelty and violence against his young wife and eventually shuts himself off from all relationships.
Living in America is not at all what Biju expected as he works at seedy restaurants in New York for little pay in squalid living conditions. He lets his father believe his life is wonderful and moves from one filthy restaurant to another hoping to find his golden ticket…he does not.
Could fulfillment ever be felt as deeply as loss?
It happened all the time; ten years passed, fifteen, the telegram arrived, or the phone call, the parent was gone and the child was too late. Or they returned and found they’d missed the entire last quarter of a lifetime, their parents like photograph negatives.
The wealth that seemed to protect them like a blanket was the very thing that left them exposed.
Ms. Desai has an enviable knack for becoming her characters, both male and female. I would love to watch her observing others since she clearly has the vision to see the truth inside each person. Perhaps we could share a meal and discuss her methods.
My rating for The Inheritance of Loss is a 7 out of 10.
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Next up, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans…