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Thursday, February 16, 2006
twilight of the superheroes

If it's our foolish instinct to long for a world where we're kept safe, where someone might swoop in to protect us, it's the role of a writer as shrewd as Eisenberg to reveal how perilous that desire can be. She suffuses her work with enough disappointment and loss to overwhelm readers looking for sunnier stories.

the inheritance of loss

But then, as Orhan Pamuk wrote soon after 9/11, people in the West are "scarcely aware of this overwhelming feeling of humiliation that is experienced by most of the world's population," which "neither magical realistic novels that endow poverty and foolishness with charm nor the exoticism of popular travel literature manages to fathom." This is the invisible emotional reality Desai uncovers as she describes the lives of people fated to experience modern life as a continuous affront to their notions of order, dignity and justice.

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