Tuesday, June 17, 2014
Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga
I adored this book. It's not quite like other short stories I've read in that these ones are vaguely connected to each other, some more than others. There are a few location and character overlaps, which enhance these connections. There isn't a continuing story, but there are enough familiar references to make them seem like a cohesive unit.
If you've come looking for a happy story with a happy ending, you've going to be disappointed. Sorry for the spoiler. Like many other stories situated in India, this isn't a happy book. Many of the characters are desperate, poverty-stricken, and without hope. There are a couple of exceptions and some very funny bits, but they are few and far between. While you won't find much happiness, what you will find are some incredible stories that are wonderfully and imaginatively written.
The short stories takes the reader into the daily lives of the citizens, from the well-to-do to the destitute. They encompass many societal issues and entities: politics, corruptions, addiction, poverty, castes, and more. All in all, the book contains some really wonderful insights into Indian society as a whole. Each of the stories is unique. Some were funny, some were sad. All were equally wonderful. I loved them all.
I loved how Adiga, the author, treated the reader like a tourist and presented the stories in itinerary form as though the reader would be spending a week in the town. Very clever!
I also loved the map at the beginning of the book. It's an artist's rendition of Kittur that features the various areas that figured prominently in the stories. It allowed me to get my bearings, as if I was actually there.
I appreciated the chronology list at the back of the book, which lays out the major events in India "between the assassinations", that of Mrs. Indira Gandhi (1984) and Rajiv Gandhi (1991). As I was reading the book, I only had a very vague idea of what the title referred to. Not much (if anything) was mentioned within the stories themselves. As someone who doesn't closely follow world politics, I was thankful the author included this very informative section.
Highly recommended. I'd definitely read another book by this author.
For more information about this book, please visit Simon & Schuster's website.
I'd like to thank those nice people at Simon & Schuster for this review copy. Sorry it took me so long to get to it.
Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga, Free Press (Simon & Schuster) ©2009. ISBN 9781439152928(Hardcover), 339p.