This is a novel that takes place in both eastern India and the United States following the granddaughter of a regional judge in India, and a recent Indian immigrant to the US.
This book ended up being a lot more interesting than I originally thought it was going to be for the first 50 pages or so. It still didn’t end moving the needle all that much above 3/5 stars for me as consequence, but I did enjoy it more as it went on. This is the Booker Prize winner in 2007, and because it won that prize and because it’s by an Indian author writing in English, it’s hard not to make comparisons to other books in the same category. So like Adiga’s The White Tiger, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, and Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things, this book reckons with the end of empire from the Indian perspective, in the same way that so many other Booker Prize winners reckon with the end of empire from a British perspective.
The title then becomes the primary focus for me. What is the loss that is being inherited in this novel then: primarily it’s the loss of wealth, of agency, and of the decades and decades of loss of political and economic forces when resources were being shipped out of India, into the British Empire. The more parts of the novel that addressed the large political situation, the more I liked this novel, and the more we dealt with the specific personal plots of the characters, the more I felt I had been here before.