Mini Review: ‘The Inheritance of Loss’, by Kiran Desai


I mentioned in a previous review that some books make me cry. This was one of them. I was on the tube when I read the last line, felt the heat rushing into my face and had to stare unblinkingly at an advertisement for insurance or toothpaste or a dating website while I silently struggled to compose myself. It’s is a tragic book, bristling with anger and injustice; it’s profound, beautiful, achingly sad, but also very funny, at times. I’ll never forget the line, ‘No fruit dies so vile and offensive a death as the banana.’ Just brilliant. I tend to rate books based on beauty and feelings and I often fail to recognise structural issues or plot holes unless I’m reading with the intention of finding them. Because of this, criticism sometimes makes me think, ‘Well, yes, that wasn’t perfect, I suppose, but does it matter?’ It doesn’t work this way when I have my editor hat on, of course, but I wasn’t wearing that hat when I read this book; I just let myself get lost in it, and I think it’s very, very good — a deserving winner of the Man Booker prize. That’s my humble opinion.

Verdict: Read it, absolutely.


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