Monday, September 07, 2009

Kiran Desai,The Inheritance of Loss and the insouciance of words


My first response was to fling to book aside at page 2.
The Inheritance of Loss/ Kiran-ben Desai
Despair, bleak, a sense of grief hopelessness seep through the flimsy illegit newsprint pages like the nonstop rain seeping through the wood at Cho Oyu in Kalimpong.
You take the reader down a ravine of grief, for heaven’s sake show a glimmer out, something anything how ever flimsy but no!
The cover is abstract pretty, but I’d put up there the leitmotif like a warning to timid souls, the ornate gates and pillars standing in the middle of nowhere with no walls to hold together- nothing left to hold together, nothing left to hide, all khatam but marching on nevertheless. How well we know that.
Ethical gujju that I am, must get the most bang for the buck and can’t possibly let the 25 bucks reading fee from my roadside library go waste--am I glad I persisted.
This is good. This is SO very good.
Very crisp writing, so many layers, all streaking dancing joyously across the storyboard canvas and blending seamlessly but yet separate-seperate.
She’s got a great story to tell, she has you caring for the characters, she has you opening up long shut and welded-sealed doors in your own past, she has you wringing your hands with ohmyGOD the sadness of it all,yet cheeky in your face hullo, what more can one ask for?
Envy her comfort with English. Not the Queen’s here for sure, put away that Wren and Martin, she takes her grammar and tweaks it around her little finger. She scatters it across the polished wooden surface and plays swift carom with the striker, and oh la! how I like that.

For a propah review: The Inheritance of Loss/ Reviewed by Pankaj Mishra for the NYT

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/12/books/review/12mishra.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

10 comments:

norrbu said...

How come Austere di? May be I should read it again, but I thought it was good, but not SO very good.

austere said...

norrbu, perhaps its an age time loss related reaction as well, one has lived and is frayed at the edges-- one KNOWS the judge's inward warping, one nods when Noni says, "Take your chance!".

Nimh Sellers said...

When I read a book or like an author, I always try to read interviews with them or, if so lucky, to see them speak or read in person. A stack o words can certainly be interpeted in many ways. By each individual reader and by the authors own mind.
Take Care dear,
Nimh

austere said...

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2006/oct/12/bookerprize2006.thebookerprize

Nimh- this one's for you.
Ah no, I go by the cover. If its in blue I'll read.

CRUSTYBEEF said...

I'm a word of mouth--if you like it and tell me I'd like it--I'll read it..

I can see how it can be disappointing..but the next time I see a blue book-no matter what kind, permission to buy it and send it to you?

because it's blue.
xxo,
me

PQ said...

I wanted to read this and also 'The God of Small things'

PQ said...

Austy, Title to hai na - 'My Life'...pura Settings search kiya...if I need to set Title anywhere else...you were referring to this one only na

Arunima said...

i didn't like the fact that it was award winning.

Ankush said...

Nice review.

For all the love I have for fiction, my only woe is that I fail to appreciate the modern 'literature'.

Recently, I tried reading 'God of Small Things', but had to leave it halfway as it got REALLY boring.

Does it happen to me only?

austere said...

Crustylove- Next time I see a bk with a blue cover I'll buy it and write CRUSTY"S BOOK on the cover. :) Special Indian prices, more so if they are bootleg,too exp sending from the US, but will remember this, thaaaaaaaank you.

PQ- God of small things I had read but not liked. But that was some time ago, and much water has flowed under the bridge,dunno if that opinion holds.

arunima- didn't deserve the award, you think?

ankush- see ref to God of small things above. Some of this one has to live thru before one can appreciate a turn of phrase. Which I realise only now.

Kahaan review? just liked her word style. Unless you refer to Mr. Mishra's proper analysis. :)