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The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
The Inheritance of Loss follows two separate threads set in the 1980s. In India near the Nepal border lives Jemubhai Popatlal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge. Living with him is his granddaughter Sai and his cook. Sai is 16 and has fallen in love with her 20-year old tutor, Gyan. Gyan, however, joins Nepalese independence insurgents and the group breaks into Jemubhai's home looking for weapons, terrorizing them all. Meanwhile, Biju, the son of Jemubhai's cook has illegally immigrated to New York City where his life is miserable. He tries to eke out an existence without being caught and being in an alien culture which isn't too kindly to him. It's his return home that sparks the confrontation in all their lives. Kiran Desai's novel has received positive reviews with The Independent saying, "Desai's bold, original voice, and her ability to deal in grand narratives with a deft comic touch that affectionately recalls some of the masters of Indian fiction, make hers a novel to be reread and remembered."