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Between the Assassinations Paperback – 13 Mar 2010

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (13 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848871236
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848871236
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.7 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (46 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 405,756 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for 2008. A former Indian correspondent for Time magazine, his writing has also appeared in the New Yorker, the Financial Times, and the Sunday Times among other publications. He lives in Mumbai.

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Review

"'The joy of reading Between the Assassinations derives from the life he breathes into his characters... They are fraught with conflicting desires that time after time end in violence, madness or stifling frustration... This is fiction at its most ambitious and incisive and every bit as impressive as his debut.' Sunday Telegraph 'Adiga...has boldly gone where few Indian writers choose to venture, casting his gaze beyond the complacent smugness of middle-class drawing rooms to the anger and squalor lurking in the underbelly of urban India.' Vikas Swarup, Guardian 'Wonderful... With Between the Assassinations, Adiga has demonstrated that he is an important literary talent, a writer capable of evocation without extravagance, a sensitive chronicler of modern India.' Telegraph 'Lively and keenly observed.' Sunday Times"

Book Description

The dazzling and masterful new book from the winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize. Abridged edition, read by Kerry Shale --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. Hasnath on 2 Sept. 2009
Format: Hardcover
Aravind Adiga follows up The White Tiger, his brutal dissection of Indian society, with yet another offering.

This time it is a collection of short stories that share a common theme - endemic corruption at all levels among public servants and a look into the flaws of the Hindu caste system, where so-called 'untouchables' exist.

Despite the country having made rapid strides in the last century, I'm afraid this book reinforces the enduring presence of these social attitudes in India today.

I felt this book was darker than the White Tiger, and lacking its lighthearted narrative and the naivete of its protagonist.
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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Ian M. Buchanan on 26 July 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is billed as a novel, but it isn't really that. It is a collection of short stories all set in the same location. One might think of it as a constellation arrangement (in Benjamin's sense) in that the stories are connected, but only indirectly, via the eye of the observer. I think some people have been disappointed by this book because it isn't as satirical as White Tiger, but in many ways that is what makes it a better book. There is a real honesty to this book that is quite disturbing. It doesn't sugar coat things, nor does it create false tales of redemption like Slumdog Millionaire. If it has a single theme it is this: the very poor don't get to make mistakes, one error of judgement is fatal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Valentine Gersbach on 18 April 2012
Format: Paperback
I share the disappointment of those readers who expected this to be a novel but I'm glad that my ignorance led me to buy what is a deeply thought-provoking and skillfully written collection of short stories assembled within a loose geographical and chronological frame.

The stories present the experiences of a number of characters of varying social class and religion living in the same town at the same time.There are odd moments of linkage but by and large,there is no direct intersection between the stories.Each one gives a different perspective on life lived in India at a particular time.Many of the central characters are desperately poor,some are middle class and there is a least one spoiled rich kid amongst them.

What the frame allows Adiga to do is to present a society existing in various ways:there's no easy poor/rich,good/bad paradigm here although all the characters exist within a system which values individuals in terms which have little to do with character,talent or decency.Because of this,some characters are shoved into misery or madness but some also make choices which bring about their downfall or a small measure of triumph.However,none of this is clear cut:the endings of the stories are often inconclusive and enigmatic implying that a lack of "ending",happy or otherwise is part of real life.

I didn't think that any of the stories in themselves were especially brilliant but all of them were well crafted vignettes which effectively presented life in a world which is foreign to me.By the end, I found myself becoming familiar with Adiga's version of this world in much the same way that I was with Joyce's depiction of his city in "Dubliners", although I make no comparison between the two in terms of quality of writing.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on 8 May 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The title of this book refers to the time between the assasination of Indian Prime Minister Indira Ghandi in 1984 and the assasination of her son and successor, Rajiv Ghandi, in 1991. The substance of the book is a tourist guidebook to a fictional Indian town, interspersed within a collection of short stories. Each chapter is independent from the next, though they share the geography of the town and its environs.

Each story is essentially about an individual and how their lives are lived in the town. The characters are mainly drawn from the marginalised and the poor, occasionally reaching into the lower middle-class. The rich and the powerful are largely minor bit-part players whose motives and stories we do not know; the corrupt local MP makes a cameo appearance in a few of the stories but doesn't have a chapter of his own, which is a shame since the corruption of the Indian political class features strongly in the stories of the other characters.

This book reminded me strongly of James Joyce's Dubliners, doing for an anonymous half-baked Indian town (to borrow a term from Adiga's previous book, The White Tiger) what Joyce did for turn of the century Dublin. Stretching the comparison with Joyce a little, where Homer's the Odyssey served as a framework to Ulysses, Adiga borrows the framework of a late 20th century travel book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By wolf VINE VOICE on 16 Mar. 2011
Format: Paperback
Adiga's Booker winning White Tiger was a very good read: satirical, hard edged, brimming with wit and pace, it felt like it cut to the heart of modern India. Many readers may come to this hoping be for the same - and be disappointed.

Although this is Adiga's second book, it feels like earlier work. The writing is just a little less assured; the weight of its ambition hangs heavily over it. It is a determinedly serious piece. It lacks anything of the sour wit and vibrancy of White Tiger's somewhat amoral narrator.

Once you accept this, however, there is much to admire in Adiga's stories. All set in a fictitious town between the assassinations of Mrs Ghandi and her son, they spotlight the injustices of life in India: caste, poverty, corruption, religious intolerance, corruption, ignorance and yet more corruption. Generally, they avoid being depressing - even if their subject matter is - through the virtue of being beautifully and elegantly written. Artfully chosen details and metaphors illuminate the lives of Adiga's cast. Some are mundane, others more baroque, like the newspaper man who ends up literally eating the printed words.

There is something highly reminiscent of Joyce's Dubliners here. It is not just the fact that these stories all centre around the lives of ordinary, and not so ordinary, people in one city; it is also a similarity in the cultures - halfway between the life of the west or of the mainland, which seems to promise freedom and modernity, and a certain parochial staid small town attitude - that seeps into the stories. It is in the jewel-like quality of lives crisply and perfectly captured. And that's high praise.
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