The Inheritance of Loss


Author: Kiran Desai

Country: India

Language: English

Genre: Novel

Publisher: • Atlantic Monthly Press (US)
• Hamish Hamilton (US)

Publication date 31 August 2006
Media type Print (hardback & paperback)

Pages 336 (hardback edition)
ISBN 0-241-14348-9 (hardback)


Preceded by Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard

The Inheritance of Loss is the second novel by Indian author Kiran Desai. It was first published in 2006. It won a number of awards, including the Man Booker Prize for that year, the National Book Critics Circle Fiction Award in 2007,[1] and the 2006 Vodafone Crossword Book Award.
It was written over a period of seven years after her first book, the critically acclaimed Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard.[2][3] Among its main themes are migration, living between two worlds, and between past and present.

The story is centered on two main characters: Biju and Sai. Biju is an illegal Indian immigrant living in the United States, son of a cook who works for Sai's grandfather. Sai is a girl living in mountainous Kalimpong with her maternal grandfather Jemubhai, the cook and a dog named Mutt. Desai switches the narration between both points of view. The action of the novel takes place in 1986.
The novel follows the journey of Biju, an illegal immigrant in the US who is trying to make a new life; and Sai, an Anglicised Indian girl living with her grandfather in India. The novel shows the internal conflicts in India between groups, whilst showing a conflict between past and present. There is the rejection and yet awe of the English way of life, the opportunities for money in the US, and the squalor of living in India. Many leading Indians were considered to be becoming too English and having forgotten the traditional ways of Indian life, shown through the character of the grandfather, the retired Judge.
The major theme running throughout is one closely related to colonialism and the...