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Both Arundhati Roy’s God of Small Things and Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss attempt to present India to a global audience. As Schoen comments “[the contemporary post-colonial Indian novel] seeks to imprint upon the global reader an impression of real-life living conditions in contemporary India” (Schoen 137). How “real” is this depiction? How much is the implication of the mango novel an effort to create a dichotomy between lived practices in India compared to London, for example, or other regions around the world.
The implication hidden in the Indian novel is that lush, verdant depictions of the undergrowth, sumptuous descriptions of food, and delicate descriptions of everyday life are meant to present the global reader with accurate depictions of Indian life.
Schoen privileges Roy’s novel as the better novel, while the argument is that Desai’s novel is too fragmented. Unity of form, however, is confused with nostalgia, and the fragmentation of Desai’s work works in her favor. The argument advanced in this paper is that despite Roy and Desai’s best efforts to present realism, the novels fall into the trap of romanticizing the subcontinent rather than presenting a reality as it is played out in everyday Indian daily practice. Desai’s novel attempts to reconcile this issue better than Roy....