The Inheritance of Loss

The Inheritance of Loss

The Judge / Jemubhai Character Analysis

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 all of their resources into ensuring that he gets a good education. He attends a mission school and then goes on to Cambridge University on a scholarship, aiming to join the Indian Civil Service. Before leaving, he marries fourteen-year-old Nimi in order to gain a dowry, though the two do not consummate the marriage. In Cambridge, even though he is viewed as an outsider, he tries to imitate British culture. He passes his exams and is accepted into the ICS. When he returns to India, he is humiliated when she steals his powder puff and, in retaliation, rapes her. The judge spends much of the rest of their marriage abusing her and trying to strip her of her Indianness. He eventually sends her away, fearing that he will kill her. In the present, the judge is a deliberate, angry old man filled with self-loathing because he is accepted by neither British culture nor his own society. His only solace comes from the company of his dog, Mutt, and eventually his granddaughter. The judge serves as the primary character who experiences colonization firsthand. Though he benefits from it, he must also come to terms with his abuse of his wife and the oppression he has inflicted on others because he was forced to adopt British culture.

The Judge / Jemubhai Quotes in The Inheritance of Loss

The The Inheritance of Loss quotes below are all either spoken by The Judge / Jemubhai or refer to The Judge / Jemubhai. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Grove Press edition of The Inheritance of Loss published in 2006.
Chapter 2 Quotes

They surveyed the downfall of wealth with satisfaction, and one of the policemen kicked a shaky apparatus of pipes leading from the jhora stream, bandaged here and there with sopping rags.

Related Characters: The Judge / Jemubhai, Sai
Page Number: 13
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 6 Quotes

The judge could live here, in this shell, this skull, with the solace of being a foreigner in his own country, for this time he would not learn the language.

Related Characters: The Judge / Jemubhai
Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 8 Quotes

Jemubhai looked at his father, a barely educated man venturing where he should not be, and the love in Jemubhai's heart mingled with pity, the pity with shame.

Page Number: 42
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 16 Quotes

The dowry bids poured in and his father began an exhilarated weighing and tallying: ugly face—a little more gold, a pale skin—a little less. A dark and ugly daughter of a rich man seemed their best bet.

Page Number: 98
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 18 Quotes

“Don’t work too hard.”

“One must, Mrs. Rice.”

He had learned to take refuge in the third person and to keep everyone at bay, to keep even himself away from himself like the Queen.

Related Characters: The Judge / Jemubhai, Mrs. Rice
Page Number: 122
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 28 Quotes

They belonged to this emotion more than to themselves, experienced rage with enough muscle in it for entire nations coupled in hate.

Related Characters: The Judge / Jemubhai, Nimi
Page Number: 190
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 32 Quotes

He thought of how the English government and its civil servants had sailed away throwing their topis overboard, leaving behind only those ridiculous Indians who couldn’t rid themselves of what they had broken their souls to learn.

Related Characters: The Judge / Jemubhai, Bose
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:
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The man with the white curly wig and a dark face covered in powder, bringing down his hammer, always against the native, in a world that was still colonial.

Related Characters: The Judge / Jemubhai, Bose
Related Symbols: The Powder Puff
Page Number: 224
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Judge / Jemubhai Character Timeline in The Inheritance of Loss

The timeline below shows where the character The Judge / Jemubhai appears in The Inheritance of Loss. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
Settled in the mist of Mount Kanchenjunga, Sai and her grandfather, the judge, are sitting on the veranda of their home, which is called Cho Oyu. She is... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...more than an hour late. She excuses his absence because of the thickening mist. The judge complains that the cook is late with his tea, and Sai offers to get it... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
...not for his son Biju who lives in America. Sai takes the tea to the judge, who grumbles that there is nothing to eat with the tea. Sai tells him that... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
...boys come back up the steps, and the one with the rifle says something the judge cannot understand. The boy sneers at the fact that the judge cannot speak Nepali, and... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
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One of the boys points the gun at Mutt, and Sai goes to get the judge’s rifles, which he earned in the Indian Civil Service. The boys take the guns and... (full context)
Power and Humiliation Theme Icon
The cook fries pakoras for the boys while the judge is forced to set the table, something he would never do as the head of... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
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The boys finish by making the judge, Sai, and the cook say “I am a fool” and “Jai Gorkha” before leaving with... (full context)
Home and Belonging Theme Icon
...take place in February of 1986. The newspapers describe a gathering insurgency. Where Sai, the judge, and the cook live, Kalimpong, the Indian-Nepalese are treated like a minority, even though they... (full context)
Chapter 2
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The judge sends the cook to the police station, knowing that the police could very well be... (full context)
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...if threats were made, and when the cook tells them that the boys asked the judge to set the table and bring tea, the policemen begin to laugh. (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
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The judge’s house had been built by a Scotsman, who had read accounts of the period and... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...to do with Sai. Under the emergency contact information in their register, they find the judge’s name and address, and remember that he was the one paying for her to stay... (full context)
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Meanwhile, the Scotsman who built Cho Oyu is showing the judge the home. The judge finds the house appealing because he could live in it as... (full context)
Chapter 7
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...shape of a motorcar, with vegetables serving as the various parts of the car. The judge sits with her at the dinner table but seems not to have noticed her arrival. (full context)
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The judge finally asks Sai her name. She tells him, and compliments Mutt, which pleases the judge.... (full context)
Chapter 8
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Across the hall from Sai’s room, the judge lies awake in bed as well. He realizes that Sai’s arrival has upset him. He... (full context)
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The judge (then called Jemubhai) had been accompanied by his father to his departure point. His mother... (full context)
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Jemubhai thought of his fourteen-year-old wife, Nimi, whom he had married only a month ago, and... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
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As the judge departed on the ship, the judge’s father yelled at him to toss the coconut. Jemubhai... (full context)
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The judge continues to remember his journey. Jemubhai had discovered spoiled food that his mother had packed... (full context)
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Jemubhai arrived at Cambridge, and when he tried to look for a room to rent, he... (full context)
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Jemubhai began his studies at Fitzwilliam, spending most of the day working so as to avoid... (full context)
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In the morning, the judge instructs the cook to bring Sai to meet her new tutor, Noni. On the road... (full context)
Chapter 9
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When Lola hears that the judge’s guns have been stolen from Cho Oyu, she is terrified that the boys will also... (full context)
Chapter 11
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...chhang (liquor). He had started the business on the side for Biju’s sake, because the judge refused to give him a substantial raise throughout his years of service. (full context)
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...treated extremely well by their employers. The cook starts telling lies to brag about the judge’s former glory and the religious piety of his late wife (whom he had not known). (full context)
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...cook also told many of these lies to Sai. He would tell her that the judge was born a rich man, and that he had been sent off to England with... (full context)
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The judge was actually born to a family of the peasant caste. His town had been owned... (full context)
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The judge’s father had a small business procuring false witnesses to appear in court. He was proud... (full context)
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Jemubhai was sent to the mission school, and his mother would wake him every day with... (full context)
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Jemubhai rose to the top of the class, and his father dreamed of seeing Jemubhai in... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...himself had begun working at ten years old, and then had been hired by the judge at fourteen. (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
On the veranda, the judge recollects his life as a touring official. The judge heard cases in Hindi, but they... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
The judge continues to remember his routine: in the afternoons, he would have tea before going out... (full context)
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The cook had been disappointed to be working for the judge, as his father had only served white men. The judge had likewise been skeptical of... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...and Sai attempt physics a few more times, but to no avail. Noni tells the judge that Sai needs a more qualified tutor to continue her studies. The judge sends a... (full context)
Chapter 15
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...gotten a new job in a bakery. The cook recalls that when he and the judge had first arrived in Kalimpong, he had bragged to everyone he met that his son... (full context)
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...than England. The cook then delivers his news to Lola and the rest of the judge’s neighbors. (full context)
Chapter 16
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Sai becomes interested in other people’s love affairs. She asks the cook about the judge’s wife (Nimi). The cook says that she was a great lady, and the judge had... (full context)
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Sai then questions the judge about her grandmother. The judge rebuffs her questions, telling her not to interrupt his chess.... (full context)
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...town lived the wealthy Bomanbhai Patel. One day a group of men told Bomanbhai of Jemubhai’s departure for England. A week later, Bomanbhai offered Jemubhai his most beautiful daughter Bela (who... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
...a week and was exceptionally lavish. Bela’s name was changed into the one chosen by Jemubhai’s family, and she became Nimi Patel. After the wedding, Jemubhai had pulled off his new... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
The next morning, the uncles laughed at Jemubhai, noting that nothing happened in the bed. More days passed, and they grew concerned, telling... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
One day, Jemubhai had offered Nimi a ride on his father’s bicycle. She at first had declined, but... (full context)
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In the present, the judge looks up from his chess and sees Sai climbing a tree, waiting to see Gyan... (full context)
Chapter 18
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At dinner, the judge is irritated by Gyan’s presence (he calls Gyan “Charlie”). The judge realizes that Gyan is... (full context)
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The judge remembers his own study of poetry forty years earlier. He had loved the library because... (full context)
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The judge rose from his books midmorning and went to the bathroom, having serious digestion issues. As... (full context)
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At the judge’s final examination, sitting before a row of twelve examiners, his first task was to tell... (full context)
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Lastly, the examiners asked the judge to name his favorite writer. Though he did not have a favorite writer, he responded... (full context)
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In the present, the judge scoffs at his past self, and leaves the dinner table. Sai apologizes for his behavior,... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
The judge lies awake in the damp air and continues to remember. His score had ranked him... (full context)
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The judge had cried with relief. Mrs. Rice was glad to hear his news, thinking to herself... (full context)
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Home and Belonging Theme Icon
Jemubhai had previously lived on ten pounds a month, but could now expect three hundred pounds... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
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At the end of their probation, the judge and Bose swore to obey His Majesty and went back to India. On the train... (full context)
Gender and Misogyny Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Sai walks by the judge’s door on her way to the bathroom. She wanders in and out and in and... (full context)
Chapter 28
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The judge thinks about his own hatred. When he had returned from England, he was greeted by... (full context)
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Nimi had later gone through the judge’s toiletry case, trying to learn a bit about English culture. She picked up the judge’s... (full context)
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Later the judge went to check his belongings and discovered that the powder puff had disappeared. He questioned... (full context)
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The judge cornered Nimi in the bedroom. An aunt shouted at the judge to break the bed;... (full context)
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The judge was glad to be able to disguise his crudity in sex with hatred and fury.... (full context)
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Nimi did not accompany the judge on tour, unlike other wives. Nimi was left alone in Bonda instead, uncared for. She... (full context)
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The judge grew more and more upset by Nimi’s facial expressions, and then by her blankness. He... (full context)
Chapter 29
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...about how he is forced to tutor to earn money. He mocks Sai and the judge. His tongue, loosened by alcohol, reveals a description of their house, the guns on the... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...threatening to take Biju with her because she had died violently. The cook asked the judge to let him return to his village to make a sacrifice, but the judge had... (full context)
Chapter 32
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The judge remembers his final conversation with his friend Bose, which had been thirty-three years after they... (full context)
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...had people in India. They believed that Bose thought he was superior to them. The judge had criticized the case for other reasons. (full context)
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...issue, exclaiming that white people were responsible for all the crimes of the century. The judge was silent. Bose continued, trying to understand his silence, by saying that at least white... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
Bose had asked if he and the judge were still friends. The judge responded that things had changed. When Bose said that what... (full context)
Colonialism and Globalization Theme Icon
On his way home, the judge remembered an incident of boys taunting him at a bus stop, throwing stones and jeering.... (full context)
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The judge returned home to find the telegram regarding Sai’s parents’ deaths. He knew he would find... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...have signed a peace treaty, seven thousand men surrender more than five thousand guns—including the judge’s—in that very dining room. (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...restaurant and now doesn’t want his food. He bangs the dishes around loudly, causing the judge to shout at him. (full context)
Chapter 35
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...the last one to touch the guns, admiring them. Sai had told Gyan that the judge used to go hunting, as the cook had told her. She had been trying to... (full context)
Poverty vs. Privilege Theme Icon
...narration skips ahead, after the incident in which the boys from the GNLF steal the judge’s guns. The sub divisional officer (SDO) assures the judge that they will catch the criminals.... (full context)
Chapter 40
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...to scratch at him, yelling as she accuses him of telling the GNLF about the judge’s guns. She pounces at his guilty look, but he catches her, throws her into the... (full context)
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When Sai arrives home, a woman is talking to the judge and the cook. She is the wife of the drunk who had been tortured by... (full context)
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The judge goes back to his game of chess, having nothing to offer her and having been... (full context)
Chapter 42
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...Indo-Nepal Treaty. Boys arrive at Cho Oyu from the GNLF, demanding that someone attend. The judge tells the cook to go. (full context)
Chapter 44
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...Mutt to appear. She is absorbed in a smell when they pounce on her. The judge is sitting in a bath, the cook is churning butter, and Sai is sitting in... (full context)
Chapter 46
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Sai looks out her window and sees the judge calling for Mutt. His voice becomes increasingly anxious. The afternoon turns into evening, but Mutt... (full context)
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Mrs. Thondup asks if Mutt was expensive. The judge had never thought of her in this way, but he remembers that she had been... (full context)
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The judge worries that he had brought Mutt to a place where she could never survive, though... (full context)
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The judge once again goes to the home of the SDO who had come to their house... (full context)
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The judge almost weeps, thinking of how men are unequal to animals. Humans are corrupt, while animals... (full context)
Chapter 49
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The judge decides to pray, telling God that he will never deny Him again if Mutt is... (full context)
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The judge begins to think back to the family, the culture, and the wife he had abandoned.... (full context)
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The judge returned from his tour. He was then summoned by the district commissioner, who informed him... (full context)
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The judge fixed himself a drink at home. When Nimi entered the room, he offered a series... (full context)
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The judge hit Nimi. He emptied his glass on her head, swung a jug of water into... (full context)
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Six months after the judge sent Nimi away, he received a telegram that his daughter had been born. Jemubhai had... (full context)
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Nimi’s uncle wrote to the judge, saying that Nimi was ready to return. He had misunderstood the reason for Nimi’s arrival,... (full context)
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...whose husband was resentful of Nimi’s presence, frustrated that she was eating their food. The judge’s father arrived at his home to plead for Nimi, but the judge refused to take... (full context)
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Meanwhile, war broke out in Europe and India, and the country was disintegrating. The judge worked harder than ever for the ICS. Sometime during those years, a telegram arrived, saying... (full context)
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Now the judge wonders if he killed Nimi (indirectly) for false ideals, in order to shame his own... (full context)
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The judge continues to search for Mutt with Sai and the cook’s help. Sai is glad to... (full context)
Chapter 51
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The judge dreams that Mutt is dying. The next day, he tells the cook that if he... (full context)
Chapter 53
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The cook returns to Cho Oyu in a haze of alcohol. He asks the judge, who has also been drinking, to beat him. The judge smacks the cook with a... (full context)
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Sai stands in the dark as it rains, drowning out the sound of the judge hitting the cook. She can’t formulate thoughts, her heart lies in pieces, and she begins... (full context)
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...at Cho Oyu, but she already knows. The cook will back to his quarters; the judge to his room. The next day, the judge will sit at his chessboard and out... (full context)
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Sai thinks of her father, the National Geographics, the judge’s journey, the cook’s journey, and Biju’s. She resolves to leave. Sai turns to go inside,... (full context)