Category: reviews

Book Review: Back to You (Priscilla Glenn).


I found this book on kindle, and I downloaded it because it seemed interesting. This is the only book by Priscilla Glenn I have read. Back to You is the story of Lauren Monroe and Michael Delaney. It is a friends-to-lovers second chance romance.

The story shifts from the past to the present throughout the novel. Lauren and Michael first meet when they are in high school. Michael is troubled with his attitude, his outbursts, and suspensions, others are generally scared of him. Lauren is drawn to him from the beginning, she always glimpses behind this façade of his. Both of them form an unlikely friendship. The past timeline of the book mainly focuses on their friendship, their past together and Michael’s past. The bond and chemistry between Lauren and Michael portrayed beautifully; it seems realistic because it builds up slowly. It is a fresh and a realistic take on second chance romance type of love story.


When they are separated, Lauren is left heartbroken. Lauren is shocked to see him at her new job at the Day Care center eight years later. Out of instinct to protect herself, she decided to keep a distance from him that doesn’t go according to plan. Slowly, they start becoming a part of each other’s lives again, but Lauren keeps her guard up. Michael has always felt regret about how things went down between them, and he knows it will take time to establish a level of trust between them again. It is such a sweet story. There is no unnecessary drama between Lauren and Michael.


There is more focus on Lauren’s perspective initially, but there is enough of Michael’s point of view for the reader to understand him. Lauren is a great character. She knows what she wants, she is relatable, and she is straightforward about her feelings and empathetic to everyone around her. Even as a teenager, she sees the pain beneath the surface in Michael when no one else does. The mysterious past of Michael slowly unfolds, and it is heartbreaking. It was impossible not to tear up. Everything about him makes sense the moment you completely understand why he is the way he is.


This novel is an emotional rollercoaster. Many times, the story is sad and intense; other times, it is utterly sweet. Lauren and Michael go on a journey of love, passion, friendship, and heartbreak. Both of them learn and evolve; even take responsibility for their actions. It is a second chance romance so the element of nostalgia the characters feel for each other is written and described beautifully. The jumps between the past and the present gave me a whole sense of the story as well as the characters; it added value to the overall plot. You are rooting for these two from the beginning. The unsaid feelings for each other when they are friends or the way they react to seeing each other eight years later is done amazingly well.


I loved reading this book. This is a beautiful love story that is intense, sad, and romantic all in one story. The pace, the plot, and mainly the characters; keep you hooked from the beginning. I would have finished this book in one night if I had my way, but I already stayed awake reading till 4 am. Priscilla Glenn has done a wonderful job with the story and the characters, it is very well thought out and written. Back to You is a book I will definitely read again and love it just as much as I did the first time.

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Book Review: The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald).


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is a classic love story set in the 1920s, in the backdrop of the Jazz Age. The main focus of the plot is the love story between Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan that is set amidst the glittering and decadent social atmosphere. At it’s core, it is a love story, but it has more to it.

The story is narrated by Nick Carraway, who moves into a house opposite the mansion of the rich, and elusive Jay Gatsby. Gatsby throws lavish parties frequently, and no one knows much about him and where he has come from. Nick meets Gatsby at one of his parties, and they hit it off. The narrator is fascinated and curious about Gatsby from the beginning. As Nick spends more time around Gatsby, he finds out about his business, his connections and he knows some dangerous people.


The greatest secret and truth of Gatsby’s life is his unconditional and uncompromising love for Daisy. Gatsby and Daisy were in love when they were teenagers, but they were separated. She belonged to an affluent family that made their union impossible, and she marries someone else. After Nick moves to West Egg and forms a friendship with Gatsby, he is reunited with Daisy. Nick and Daisy are distant cousins. Daisy feels neglected by her husband, Tom, who is also having an affair with another woman. When Daisy meets Gatsby, it feels like their past has collided with their present.


It is a little difficult to rationalize some of the decisions taken by the characters in the story. At times, you can empathize with them, and at times, you cant understand their reactions. The characters are flawed, and it is hard to understand and sympathize with them. Gatsby is crazy about Daisy, and she is all he thinks about, but that doesn’t change the reality of their relationship. When they are together, in those stolen moments they are in their own little bubble oblivious to the world. There is a hopefulness in Gatsby when it comes to his love for Daisy.


The social atmosphere of the era, the way it is described in the book is so materialistic, selfish, judgmental and even harsh. The society these characters live in is such a weird and toxic place. The core of the story remains the romance between Gatsby and Daisy, but it also focuses on the social constructs of the time and the way things worked in that world. The end of the book was abrupt and sad. I liked the way the story is written. Its descriptions range from subtle to explicit, but it never gets dull. I liked the way the story unfolds, and it sets an even pace.

In a rare instance, I saw the movie before I read the book. It was on playing on television one day, and I watched half of it; I skipped the ending on purpose because I wanted to read the book. It didn’t take anything away from the story, but it did help me imagine the setting of the 1920s easily. It is a well-written love story that ends realistically, remaining true to the story. I liked reading this novel.

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Book Review: Slaughterhouse-Five (Kurt Vonnegut).

Slaughterhouse-five

-Kurt Vonnegut.


I have been meaning to read Slaughterhouse-five for years. I haven’t read anything written by Vonnegut before except a few passages from his works. So, I was very excited to finally read this novel. It has such an interesting premise and narration that it keeps you invested. It is mainly set during World War II and narrates the experience of a POW in Dresden. I am not sure how I will be able to describe the plot; it is complicated to explain. I am going to skip giving a summary in this review because I am not sure it can be done properly.

This novel is an anti-war novel infused with science fiction elements in it. Strangely, it all fits well together and makes sense. The story of Billy Pilgrim is fictional, but there is an echo of Vonnegut’s own experiences as a POW in Dresden during World War II. The book begins with Vonnegut wanting to write an anti-war novel to describe and explain the destruction caused by wars. Then it shifts to the story of Billy Pilgrim, who remains the main narrator of the novel except for the first and the last chapter. It is narrated uniquely, which confused me a little in the beginning, keeping track of the plot and characters.


The element of science fiction with the part about alien abduction seemed random, but as I read ahead, I was surprised how it correlated with the story. He time travels, and there is a time warp. The time he spends with the aliens in their prison gives him a different perspective about his time in Dresden. This part of the novel was completely unexpected for me, and even more surprising is the way, it comes together and back to the destruction caused by war. At the beginning itself, phrases like ‘unstuck in time’ crop up which I didn’t think much about when I read it, and then, it makes sense as the plot progresses.


At times, the plot has a comedic tone to it not in a war is funny sort of a way but more like humor is used to cope with the tragedies surrounding them. Billy is kept prisoner in a slaughterhouse in Dresden with other American POWs and is witness to the bombing of Dresden that almost destroyed the whole city. This concept of being a witness is something that comes up throughout the plot. The firsthand experiences of Vonnegut add authenticity to this theme of being witness to such an event. Incidences like the Dresden bombing are not talked about since the war is over and it frustrates the writer because he witnessed the destruction.


Reading this book is an incredible experience. The main crux of the novel remains that it is an anti-war book but the way it comes back to it time and again is amazing. It talks about the effect war had on society as a whole and on individuals; the sheer scale of destruction caused is not something one can even grasp properly. The writing, tone, and pace of the novel are intriguing from start to finish. It can get strange in unexpected ways, but there is a purpose to it. It is a must-read.

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Book Review: Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte).

Wuthering Heights

–  Emily Bronte

I picked up this novel thinking it was a love story; I was wrong.  This classic gothic novel tells the story of two passionate people Heathcliff and Catherine. The story spans for years, revolving around two families Earnshaws’ and Linton’s’. The plot is complicated especially to describe in brief so, I will try to cover the main points of the plot.

The narration of the story is difficult to explain. The main narrator is a servant who grew up in Wuthering Heights named Nelly, but the first-person narration is of Mr. Lockwood, who is in the house as a guest. There is a narration within a narration in the novel. Mr. Earnshaw, Catherine’s father finds a young orphan boy in Liverpool, Heathcliff. Mr. Earnshaw brings him home to Wuthering Heights where his adoptive father spoils him, and the rest of the family reluctantly accepts him. Heathcliff and Catherine grow up together. I don’t know how exactly to describe their relationship, but they are really close. After Mr. Earnshaw’s death, Hindley is Catherine’s brother who tries to keep her away from Heathcliff after their father’s death.

Heathcliff starts getting jealous when Edgar Linton comes into Catherine’s life. Heathcliff overhears Catherine talking to Nelly about how she can never marry Heathcliff even if she loves him. Furious after hearing this Heathcliff, leaves Wuthering Heights and comes back three years later. In his absence, Catherine marries Edgar. Their relationship is tumultuous, and when Heathcliff returns, it gets worse. Heathcliff marries Edgar’s sister Isabella. Soon after his wedding, Catherine dies after giving birth to her, and Edgar’s daughter is also named Catherine. Heathcliff waits 17 years to get his revenge.

The book keeps you engaged from the start with its writing and the story. I don’t know what to think of the characters. I think none of the characters are likable and that seems on purpose. Heathcliff and Catherine are both so headstrong, stubborn, and hurt each other with their words and actions almost carelessly. It is easy to see how perfect they would be for each other if things didn’t work out the way they do in the story. It’s difficult to comprehend their actions and behavior to circumstances; it doesn’t make much sense. I kept on wondering why and how could someone be so cruel to others. Till it is between Catherine and Heathcliff it is still somewhat okay but then it spills over ruining the lives of two families.

Heathcliff is such a dark, obsessed and broody character; planning and plotting to get his revenge. The part where Catherine dies, and he goes to her grave, is surprisingly emotional. The way he behaves is not justified in any way, but there is a small smidgen of sympathy for him, and even Catherine because of that part of the story. Heathcliff’s doomed love for Catherine is his only redemption. The gothic setting of the moors fits perfectly with the tone of the story. The gloom and the darkness of the described landscape parallel the tragic story that takes place. The way the story is narrated maintains an air of mystery and doom throughout.

I am not sure what I expected when I started reading this novel, but it wasn’t this. There is a sense of tragedy right from the beginning. Catherine and Heathcliff’s love is doomed from the start. It is this love that drives the plot; the madness, need for revenge, this obsession, and tragedy all starts and ends with their love for each other. I liked the novel and the way the plot progresses. It is one of the best novels I have read. Everything has a purpose in this story, and it shows. It is a beautifully written story with a complicated plot and questionable characters. It is a must-read.

Book Review: Paper Towns (John Green).

Paper Towns

-John Green.


I loved reading The Fault in Our Stars and Looking For Alaska. This book has been sitting on my shelf for a couple of years now, and finally, I read it. Paper Towns by John Green is a coming of age story set in the senior year of high school. It follows the story of Quentin, nicknamed Q, as he follows clues to try and find his childhood friend and crush Margo Roth Spiegelman.

The story starts with a bit of flashback in a way. Q and Margo are neighbors. They were close as kids, always off on adventures when one day they come across a dead body while cycling. The story moves to the present day, where Q and Margo are in their senior year of high school. Q is fascinated by Margo, romantically interested in her, but they have drifted apart over the years. One night, Q is awoken by a knock on his window, and it is Margo. The rest of the night is filled with shenanigans and adventures; it’s the most amount of time the two have spent together in years.


The next morning Q wakes up to find Margo gone. She has run away from home. It is not the first time she has done this, and she always leaves behind clues. This time the clues are for Q, and he is determined to find Margo. The rest of the story follows his search for Margo, trying to understand the clues she left for him. The plot then follows Q’s efforts to figure out where Margo went with the help of his friends. Quentin’s two best friends are Ben and Radar. Q tells them about Margo, and they immediately decide to help him. Lacey is Margo’s friend who, Margo thinks betrayed her, but she also joins the guys to find Margo.


Margo is such an enigmatic character. She seems to have everything, be anything she wants to be, but as the story progresses the layers are peeled off. Q realizes that he had an idea in his head about who Margo was, but he didn’t really know her. The friendship between Q, Radar, and Ben is so realistic and funny. Ben and Radar are supportive of Q understanding why the driving forces behind his quest. Ben can be a bit dramatic but it didn’t bother me much. They try to get him to enjoy the present, their last year in high school together instead of always worrying about Margo. This story is Q’s journey. He discovers himself. Like any other John Green works, the metaphors in this book are beautiful.


The story is a combination of comedy, heartfelt moments, and mystery. The way the story is written kept me hooked. I wanted to know the mystery that was Margo. The sense of identity is a constant theme that plays throughout the story. Each character has a different interpretation about who and what Margo is while no one knows her. It feels like Margo is an idea than an actual character. Q is worried about her and at one point is seriously concerned for her well-being. Her clues at times seem vague, and even the gang has trouble figuring them out.

This is a YA novel, but it is cleverly written. Q is such a relatable character. He is a little lost, especially in the beginning and everyone can relate to feeling lost at some point or the other. This story is more about the journey than the destination. We find out what happens to Margo in the end, and I thought it was worth it. Margo and Q have a conversation when he finds her that helps change his perspective; making his journey seem worthwhile. This book is thoughtful, philosophical, emotional, and funny. I loved reading this book.

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Book Review: A Pair of Silk Stockings (Short Story by Kate Chopin).

A Pair of Silk Stockings

– Kate Chopin.

I have never read anything written by Kate Chopin. I always wanted to read her works, so I thought reading this short story will be a good introduction. A Pair of Silk Stockings is the story about Mrs. Sommers, who finds herself with extra money and can’t decide whether to indulge herself or her family. The story begins with Mrs. Sommers finding fifteen dollars in her possession. She is overjoyed by the extra money and plans on how she will get a few things for her family that she was putting off due to budget constraints.

Mrs. Sommers makes a list mentally to go shopping the next day and buy new slightly fancy clothes for her kids. The next day when she is in the shop, she is unable to spend the money as she had previously planned. She finds a beautiful pair of silk stockings on discount, seeing that it is on a discount she buys that pair for herself. Buying this pair of stockings leads to an indulgent day for Mrs. Sommers. She is completely family-oriented. She thinks about her kids, and the household needs most of the time, being responsible for even the smallest thing they might need. In the beginning, when she gets the money, her first thoughts are about getting things for her kids and household.

 Once she buys that pair of stockings, she does something just for herself and likes how liberating that feels. This leads to a day of indulgent spending on herself though at the back of her mind she feels guilty about spending money just on herself. There are also underlying instances regarding bias based on social class. Mrs. Sommers feels a sense of belonging after her purchases and feels like a different person with the fancy things she bought. She feels confident about herself and notices the change in the way people perceive her when she has fancy things. Mrs. Sommers as a character also reinforces the kind of gender roles that were in place in those times. Her identity, behavior everything is in accordance with her family and not really her own. The way she behaves, and carries out her responsibilities, is all that is expected of her as a woman.

The main theme of the story I feel focused on consumerism as a means to escape. Mrs. Sommers lives a normal ordinary life that is focused on her as a mother and a wife. Buying those stockings, spending money on herself makes her feel special; it is an escape from her reality, but it is for a short time. Once she starts indulging, she buys a few other things, and then she has lunch at a fancy place; it gives her the illusion that life is different for a few moments. Towards the end, when it’s time for her to go back home, she feels like a dream ended. The escape through consumerism is limited to a few hours before she has to go to her real life.

The story is narrated and written very well. As a reader, you can relate to Mrs. Sommers as a character though I did some reading regarding the historical context of the story about the period it was written in that helped me better understand the story. I enjoyed reading this short story. It makes its point in a subtle and not so subtle way at times, but it stays engaging throughout.

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*Quote image taken from bing.com

Book Review: We Were Liars (E. Lockhart).

We Were Liars

–  E. Lockhart

This is the only novel I have read written by E. Lockhart, and it is a re-read for me. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart is a young adult suspense novel. The story follows the wealthy and beautiful Sinclair family. The main protagonist of the story is the Sinclair family’s eldest granddaughter Cadence Eastman.

The Sinclairs’ spend their summer on their private island of Beechwood. It is their slice of paradise away from everyone else, secluded and beautiful. Cady, Johnny, and Mirren are cousins who are similar in age and are very close. Later, they are joined by Gat who is the nephew of Johnny’s mother’s boyfriend. Cady, Johnny, Mirren, and Gat form a close bond, and they call themselves the Liars. The focus of the story remains on these four characters as they navigate through their dysfunctional family with Cady as the narrator.

Cady has spent every summer at  Beechwood since she was eight years old and looks forward to it. Gat starts coming to the island a couple of years later though he is welcomed there he is treated as an outsider by the older generation. Cady and Gat slowly fall in love; beginning a romantic relationship eventually. When Cady is fifteen she gets into an accident at Beechwood, and she spends the next two years recovering. Cady writes to Gat, Johnny, and Mirren but is hurt when she doesn’t receive a reply. She has no memory of the accident or what led to it. Her mother refuses to answer her questions. Cady constantly feels like something is missing, but she doesn’t know what.

Cady joins the family at Beechwood two years later. She is happy to be with the Liars again. No one else in her family tells her anything about the accident, even the Liars that leaves her frustrated. She decides to find clues and piece together the events of that summer herself. As she spends most of her time with Johnny, Mirren, and Gat away from other family members, she slowly starts recalling that summer. The façade of perfection that the Sinclair family maintains starts slowly crumbling. On paper, they seem progressive and liberal, but they are pretentious. This whole idea of the ideal American family is rooted in Sinclair’s mind, but it is toxic. The grandfather, Harris, keeps control over his daughters by using their inheritance against them

Gat is always reminded that he is an outsider by Cady’s grandfather subtly enough for others not to catch it, but the message is clear. Everyone seems to have a problem with Gat and Cady’s relationship because he is of Indian descent. His uncle proposes to Johnny’s mother, who refuses to accept the proposal because she knows she will lose her inheritance by marrying him. As an outsider to this family, Gat has a different perspective on the situation and often shares his views with the Liars. None of the sons-in-law of Harris’s daughters have ever been treated as a part of the family.

Meanwhile, Cady, Johnny, and Mirren don’t believe in the way, their family has lived or what they believe in. Once the cracks start showing, they keep getting bigger and bigger. Everyone in the family has the habit of dealing with pain and loss by suppressing it. Cady’s father leaves them; Cady and her mother pack away all of his things, make renovations to the house and act like he didn’t exist. They go about the same way in case of an accident too. Cady is miserable because she doesn’t know what has happened, and it eats at her, but no one wants to talk about it. It is the greed and pretentiousness of the family that eventually leads to the accident.

I remembered being shocked by the revelations towards the end and this time I understood the depth of it. This book has such strong themes that include sensitive topics, and it is done in a powerful yet subtle way. Also, the way this book is written is amazing. The writing is almost poetic; I don’t know how else to describe it. It keeps you hooked from the beginning with its story and proper pace. The reader is piecing together the events along with Cady; it is engaging.

I loved reading this book again. There are so many nuances and themes that I didn’t understand the first time around because I was young and unaware of things. The writing, the characters, the psychological and suspense thriller kind of narrative is a page-turner. We Were Liars is one of my favorite young adult novels.

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Book Review: One Night With You (Sophie Jordan).

One Night With You

-Sophie Jordan

One Night With You by Sophie Jordan is a historical romance novel. I found this book pretty randomly on Kindle, and its premise seemed promising. This novel follows the story of Lady Jane Guthrie and Seth Rutledge, Earl of St.Clair. This is the third book of the Derrings Series, but I read this one as a standalone.

Jane is treated as an outsider by her in-laws after her husband’s death. She craves freedom and adventure. This is how she ends up going to a masquerade party with her friends; it is here that she runs into Seth. Jane and Seth have a history together, they were close friends growing up, and Jane was madly in love with him. Seth fell for Jane’s sister, and her parents and her sister break his heart. They are sparks immediately between them, but she doesn’t follow through on it. Later, she goes to find him once again cloaked in the same dress and mask as the first night, and this time, neither of them holds back from their attraction to each other.

Seth has hardened by difficult experiences from his time working in the navy. He was heartbroken by the way Jane’s family treated him, especially her sister. He wants to marry a girl for the sake of security for his sister Julianne, who lost her eye-sight after an accident. Seth is captivated by the girl he meets at the masquerade and later, by Jane too. There is definitely chemistry between Seth and Jane from the beginning, even though he is unaware that the girl from the party and Jane are one person. Jane becomes pregnant after her one night with Seth, and everything changes.

Seth and Jane get married after finding out about the baby. Jane is reluctant to accept him because she knows he is doing this out of duty. She still loves him, so it is hard for her to accept such a practical marriage. Her first husband never treated her right, cheated on her all the time, and pulled her down all the time. Later, this tradition continues with her brother-in-law and his wife. Understandably, Jane has some trust issues, but so does Seth. He is furious about her lies; he doesn’t approve of the fact that she hid her identity when they were together.

The romance in the book is a little bit of a slow burner. The characters are interesting from the beginning, even the minor ones. Julianne, Seth’s sister, and his old navy friend and now valet also have a love story that is the subplot of the novel. I didn’t agree with some decisions or choices the characters make to situations, but that’s bound to happen. I would have liked more insight into the bond Jane and Seth shared when they were younger. The tidbits of their past seemed too less to me. Jane is in love with Seth for a long time, and the way he acts distant after their marriage is heartbreaking for her. 

The ending of the novel felt rushed. The story had set a good pace from the beginning; it never slowed or got dull. Seth’s realization of his love for Jane seemed abrupt in the end. He cares about her, and one can tell he feels something for her, but he is so adamant about staying away almost until the second chapter. Suddenly in the last chapter, he confesses his love for Jane. It seemed abrupt and not completely satisfying as it could have been. 

One Night With You by Sophie Jordon is an interesting romance novel. I liked the characters; the love story of Jane and Seth was pretty cute. I liked reading this book, but I didn’t love it.

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Book Review: My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult).

My Sister’s Keeper

-Jodi Picoult.


This book has been sitting on my bookshelf for a year now though I wanted to read this for a long time. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult is a story about a 13-year-old teenager Anna, whose life is anything but average. The book is an emotional rollercoaster.

Anna is a 13-year-old teenager who has always been aware of the circumstances of her birth. Anna is a genetically engineered baby. Her parents Sara and Brian, decide to have a third child who will be the perfect donor for their second child Kate, who suffers from a rare type of leukemia. The story begins when Anna files a lawsuit against her parents for rights to her own body. The story of the book follows this lawsuit with time jumps between the past and the present.


The plot of the book follows a specific time frame in the present, beginning with Anna hiring a lawyer Alexander Campbell till the end of the trial. Jesse is Kate and Anna’s older brother who is always getting into trouble but the siblings have a good relationship. The few chapters at the beginning itself are emotionally heavy and this continues throughout the story. The family dynamics go through a change when the lawsuit is filed and it gets further complicated with everyone reacting differently to the situation. Brian immediately starts doubting their choices so far while Sara is shocked that Anna has done something like this. There are many moral and ethical questions raised, from the parents’ side and Anna’s, still there is no right or wrong.


It is not exactly a courtroom drama though a lot of plot points come up during the trial. The judge appoints a guardian ad litum for Anna named Julia Romano. The narration is from different perspectives – Anna, Sara, Brian, Jesse, Campbell, and Julia. At first, it was a little confusing with the multiple narrators, but as the story progressed, it made complete sense. You get an insight into each character that helped me understand their motives and reactions to the circumstances. Jesse and Anna feel invisible in their own family at times because Kate’s health overshadows everything else. Campbell and Julia give a third-person point of view about the family dynamics that reveal so much about the other characters.


The story is about a family and their unusual situation. The siblings are very close to each other especially Kate and Anna; their relationship is so typical in some ways. Once to get to know the characters, it is hard not to feel for them. There is no right answer or decision to the questions asked in the story. At the start, it seems somewhat black and white, but it gets murkier as the story progresses. It is so heartbreaking to see what is going on in their mind, what they have been through; you cant root for just one of them. The epilogue of the book is from Kate’s perspective, and it was the most emotional part for me to read through.


This book is well written and constructed. The moral and ethical debates arising in the story are dealt with in a subtle way yet, they linger in your head even after you have finished reading. This story is extremely emotional, and even though you want to keep reading, it can get too heavy at times. It is a beautiful and heartbreaking story of a family. It is a must-read.

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Book Review: The Inheritance of Loss (Kiran Desai).

The Inheritance of Loss

-Kiran Desai.


The Inheritance of Loss is the first novel I am reading written by Kiran Desai. It has garnered a lot of praise and awards since its release. The book is set during the times of the Gorkhaland movement in India. The main narrators of the story are Sai, an orphan living with her maternal grandfather in Kalimpong, and Biju who is living in the United States of America illegally and needs to keep on moving.

The story is set in the mid-1980s in India. Sai, an orphaned teenager is living with her retired judge grandfather, their cook, and a dog in the hill station of Kalimpong. The first chapter of the novel starts off grim which I didn’t expect. It is after this incidence that the narration takes us back to how this came to be.


Sai has a different, more liberal sort of a world view compared to her grandfather. Their relationship is hard to describe; they care about each other but are thrust together due to the circumstances so, they maintain a certain distance. Sai falls for her tutor Gyan, who is Nepalese and for a while everything is normal. Gyan is provoked by some insurgents against Sai and her family.


Biju is the cook’s son who has moved to the United States of America for a better life. He is an illegal immigrant, who constantly fears being found out and has to be vigilant and move on quickly. He works hard, taking up any available job as he tries to make a better life for himself but it’s not working out as he hoped. At times, he wishes that maybe he should just go back to India. The judge, Sai’s grandfather, is Oxford-educated. There are parallels between the judge’s experience abroad and those of Biju’s. This part of the story is hard to read. It has a sense of alienation and loss.


There is a part of the story where everything is pretty normal especially in Sai’s life. She is falling in love with Gyan, they are building a relationship and they are blissfully unaware of the sociopolitical climate around them. Ignorance is bliss until it isn’t. Gyan starts hanging around people who provoke him which leads to problems with Sai. Towards the end, the story comes back to the first chapter when we realize that Gyan played a part in the attack on Sai’s house. The story comes to full circle.


Overall, the plot and the characters keep you hooked. The setting, the atmosphere, and the historical context make this an interesting read. It starts off a little slow. It took me some time to get used to the narration and understand the character backstories then the pace picks up. The story gives us an insight into the lives of Indians living abroad through Biju, who imagine all flowery things but the reality can be quite different. Sai’s story shows us the life of a middle-class family caught in turbulent times and having to suffer because of it.


I liked reading the book. I read a lot of reviews before I read this book and went into it with too many expectations. This is the reason I feel a little underwhelmed by this novel. The narration, descriptions, characters, and setting are intriguing but I wasn’t floored by it. Read this novel without any expectations and you’ll end up enjoying it more.

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