Unhappy Families

Family-owned business houses, especially the big ones, like to project an image of unity. And yet they are often driven by internecine rivalries. Neel Chowdhury, a Time contributor, fashions a perceptive novel, The Inheritors, out of that promising and, remarkably, all-but-ignored raw material. The clan in question, India's Lohias, is fictional, but anyone who has followed the tangled histories of Asia's real-life business dynasties will recognize some family lore and a few choice rumors.

The plot hinges on a takeover bid by one branch of the Lohias for the whole company. There...

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