I am at an utter loss on why this book is not reviewed more favorably here. It was really fantastic, in the most somberly depressing way a book about everyone losing everything can be.I finished it a few weeks back and have been debating giving it 4 or 5 stars, and it wound up with five only because 4 seems like a crime for language this good and compelling. Desai really shapes words to her desire and while they sometimes read slow, they are packed full of such depth and feeling that is feels more like rolling down a hill having each word imprint itself on your skin as you go rather than just simply reading them. They swarm and envelop you.I also wonder if my having been to many of the places this novel takes place made it far easier to enjoy it. That the struggle for Ghorkaland still goes on today, that strikes still cripple transit in and out of the Darjeeling hills at any given time, that I met and spoke with (and agreed with) proponents of a Ghorka state while in those hills made this book that more compelling to me. I was fascinated at the portrayal of how much had not changed at all in 25 years. And how extremely true Desai's prose rang of the area and culture.Her descriptions of places, people, and mentalities seemed so authentic. Yes, some of the characters hardly contained any redeeming qualities, because that is the way they are. I even read a review that dismissed the novel as misogynistic due to one character's, the grandfather, treatment of his wife. Um.... yes, he was/is a misogynistic pig full of antiquated ideas, but this hardly means the whole novel be written off. And it is not like he is rewarded for this attitude. And one could even say his mindset was where the lineage of loss began.This was a major undertaking, that is evident on every page. I highly recommend it.