The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

by

Kiran Desai

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Inheritance of Loss can help.

The Inheritance of Loss Characters

The Judge / Jemubhai

Called Jemubhai or Jemu in flashback scenes, the judge is the head of the household at Cho Oyu and Sai’s grandfather. He grows up in a family belonging to the peasant caste, who pour… read analysis of The Judge / Jemubhai

Sai

The judge’s granddaughter. Before arriving at Cho Oyu, she had attended St. Augustine’s convent, where she was “Anglicized” (taught British customs and ideas) just as the judge had been. At age eight, Sai’s motherread analysis of Sai

Biju

The cook’s son. At the cook’s urging, Biju travels to New York City in order to earn money and make a better life for the family’s future generations. He hops from one restaurant job… read analysis of Biju

The Cook

The judge’s cook and Biju’s father. The cook had worked for the judge since he was fourteen years old, and his servant status is very much ingrained in him. He does whatever the… read analysis of The Cook

Gyan

Sai’s twenty-year-old Nepali math tutor, though their relationship blooms into a romance. Gyan begins the novel as naïve as Sai, but eventually he matures due to the GNLF movement that arises in Kalimpong. He… read analysis of Gyan
Get the entire The Inheritance of Loss LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Inheritance of Loss PDF

Nimi

The judge’s wife and Sai’s maternal grandmother. She is fourteen when she marries the judge. The two do not consummate their marriage before the judge leaves for university because Nimi is so terrified… read analysis of Nimi

Noni

One of the judge’s neighbors, Lola’s sister, and Sai’s first tutor when she arrives at Cho Oyu. She and Lola are upper-class Bengali women who have also assimilated many parts of British… read analysis of Noni

Lola

Noni’s sister. She and Noni live in a house which had belonged to Lola and her late husband Joydeep before he suddenly died of a heart attack. Lola is more opinionated than her sister… read analysis of Lola

Father Booty

Another of the judge’s neighbors, Father Booty is a Swiss priest who runs a dairy farm. It is implied that he is in some kind of relationship with Uncle Potty. Over the course… read analysis of Father Booty

Uncle Potty

The judge’s nearest neighbor, “a gentleman farmer and a drunk.” It is heavily implied that he is in a relationship with Father Booty. He is well-educated and from a well-known family, and so… read analysis of Uncle Potty

Saeed Saeed

One of Biju’s coworkers at the Queen of Tarts Bakery. Saeed is a Muslim man from Zanzibar, and Biju comes to admire him for his resilience and his ability to not only survive but… read analysis of Saeed Saeed

Harish-Harry

The owner of the Gandhi Café, the last restaurant in which Biju works. Harish-Harry uses globalization to his advantage in selling generic Indian food to Americans. Though he is kind to Biju, he also takes… read analysis of Harish-Harry

The Judge’s Father

Like the cook does for Biju, the judge’s father works hard to allow the judge to get the best education and improve his social class. However, when he sees that the judge has… read analysis of The Judge’s Father

Bose

The judge’s only friend after he graduates from Cambridge. Bose is Indian, but also strove to rid himself of his Indian culture in the hopes of being accepted by the British. When he and… read analysis of Bose

Sai’s Father (Mr. Mistry)

An orphan himself and a member of the Indian Air Force. He and Sai’s mother travel to Moscow for him to be interviewed for the space program, but the couple is hit by a bus… read analysis of Sai’s Father (Mr. Mistry)
Minor Characters
Sai’s Mother (Mrs. Mistry)
The judge’s and Nimi’s only daughter. She and Sai’s father leave Sai in a convent while the two travel to Moscow for him to be interviewed for the space program. Crossing the street, they are killed by a bus, leaving Sai orphaned and in the care of her grandfather.
Mrs. Sen
Another of the judge’s neighbors and Lola’s rival. Like Lola’s daughter Pixie, her daughter Mun Mun is also a reporter, except in America, and the two debate constantly over whether the U.S. or Britain is a better country.
The Afghan Princesses
Two more of the judge’s neighbors, who were given refuge by Nehru when the British seated someone else on their father’s throne.
Mrs. Rice
The judge’s British landlady while he attends school in Cambridge.