Adiga comes in for praise from British media for new book


Aravind Adiga

''With Between the Assassinations, Adiga has certainly demonstrated that he is an important literary talent, a writer capable of evocation without extravagance, a sensitive chronicler of modern India,'' said a review in The Telegraph.

The stories are set in the 1990s between the assassinations of former prime minister Indira Gandhi and her son Rajiv, and are framed by extracts from an imagined guidebook to Kittur, a city on the southwestern coast between Goa and Calicut.

"It is Adiga's near-sightedness that brings his writing to life. His eye moves among the crowd with a restless precision, alert to the realities of each unremarkable existence. His subject is the everyday frustration brought about by discriminations of status, class and religion...," said a Guardian review.

According to a review in the Independent, "'Between the Assassinations' offers an extensive guided tour, scrutinising the diverse lives of those thronging Aravind Adiga's everytown in the period between the deaths of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and Rajiv Gandhi in 1991."

"Perhaps the best account of this collection would be no more than a montage of memorable images from the teeming city, founded and forged in Adiga's imagination: the 'Hindu buses' beating the 'Christian buses' in a race back to the depot; 'a boy cycling furiously, a block of ice strapped to the back of his bicycle', desperate to reach the top of the hill before it melts; or 'the kid with the black kite' seen 'taunting the heavens, the lightning' in a storm," the Telegraph said.

The Guardian said Adiga is fast establishing a reputation as the Solomon Grundy of contemporary novelists.

"Just as his Booker-winning debut 'White Tiger' told the story of a particular week in the life of its murderous narrator, so 'Between the Assassinations' takes seven days in the life of a fictional city called Kittur. The organising principle is crucial - successive chapters are headed 'Day Three (Afternoon)' and so on - because without it the book would be just a loose collection of sketches of discrete lives," the newspaper said.

On the other hand, the Independent said the follow-up to 'The White Tiger' offers a mosaic of India's fractured society.

"Adiga doesn't have to scratch hard to grub up some enjoyably spirited characters... Moral complexities give texture and depth to most of Adiga's conflicted or oppressed characters, but the landscape of endemic corruption and relentless contempt for the have-nots makes 'Between the Assassinations' a forceful, sobering interlude," it said.

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