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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adiga does it again
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...
Published on 2 Sep 2009 by A. Hasnath

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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing in comparison
I awaited the release of Adiga's second book after reading the much enjoyable 'White Tiger,' I felt that this book would have the same insight into the complex society and culture of India.

The thing is that this isn't exactly a novel, but a collection of short stories chronicling the lives of the residents in the small town of Kittar. The blurb will tell you...
Published on 16 Sep 2009 by D. R. West


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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adiga does it again, 2 Sep 2009
By 
A. Hasnath (England) - See all my reviews
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars No second chances for the poor, 26 July 2009
By 
Ian M. Buchanan (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
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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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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, unsentimental tales of the downtrodden, 1 July 2009
"Between the Assassinations" isn't a novel but a dozen or so short stories set in the fictional Southern Indian town of Kittur, very much like R.K. Narayan's classic Malgudi tales, but without Narayan's universality and charm. Rather, Adiga has a savage streak, and unlike Narayan, he has a message and a purpose. His portrayal of the lot of the poorest is unembellished, unapologetically in your face, and often angry. He refuses to allow us to walk past the downtrodden with eyes averted.

The first few stories are quite dire, schoolboyish, and smutty. However, as with all short story collections there are good ones too. I liked the tale of Gururaj the journalist in a vain search for the uncorrupted truth, with its dark and mischievous ending. My favourite was the tale of George and Mrs Gomes, a searing indictment of using an advantageous relationship with a boss to obtain work for relatives. When the tables turn, it isn't just George who loses out.

Adiga is an unsentimental writer and offers up no happy endings. `Good' fortune is always relative and temporary for those who have drawn the short straw in the lottery of life. The rich are born to prevail. The lower-castes-turning-on-upper-castes theme of "White Tiger" predominates in these gritty stories, sometimes repetitively so with vicious, often lavatorial humour. But Adiga's great achievement in the best of the stories is to make us squirm uncomfortably at the power of the rich over the poor and their constant willingness to use it.
Overall, four stars for the book. But some individual stories merit only two.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Richly imagined, 9 Mar 2010
Adiga's follow up to the White Tiger is this collection of short stories, set in the fictional town of Kittur in Southern India. For those who read and loved the White Tiger as much as I did, this book is not going to live up to expectations. But the way in which the author imagines this fictional town and is able to build up such a rich picture of life makes it well worth the read.

I found this a difficult book to begin with, as I'm generally not a fan of collections of short stories and had chosen to read the book simply because I had enjoyed the White Tiger so much. But I persevered, and once I had got through the first few stories, this picture of a town divided by wealth and poverty was fascinating. One of my favourite stories was the life of the bus conductor, because it was so well imagined and drew in the themes of affluence, exploitation their overspill into politics so well. This was just one of a great number of the stories that were able to build up this picture and convey these ideas.

Adiga's characters are so well imagined and their stories so aptly told that I was left wishing, in some cases, that he had built a novel up around some of the characters instead of pursuing this collection. For me this would have been a more fulfilling read. However, I did enjoy the book and I would recommend it for a rich and insightful glance into life in South India.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing in comparison, 16 Sep 2009
By 
D. R. West "Buk fan" (England) - See all my reviews
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I awaited the release of Adiga's second book after reading the much enjoyable 'White Tiger,' I felt that this book would have the same insight into the complex society and culture of India.

The thing is that this isn't exactly a novel, but a collection of short stories chronicling the lives of the residents in the small town of Kittar. The blurb will tell you that the stories overlap, but they don't and this is what lets the book down. It's just that the characters he creates and their stories aren't that interesting and you move on to the next one whilst instantly forgetting about the previous. There were only two stories out of the entire collection that gripped me, the rest were boring and taught me nothing new about the human condition and Adiga has added nothing new to his compelling insight on Indian culture that he gave us from his first book.

It's not a complete write off, to be fair. I think my opinion may be swayed on the high expectations I had for this based on what I thought of 'The White Tiger.' I just hope that with Adiga's next book, he returns to the novel format and manages to produce another interesting narrative just like he did with his debut.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The authors voice, 18 Oct 2013
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I didn't like it but ploughed on with it thinking it was going to go somewhere but it didn't. Maybe the author wanted to portray the pointlessness of people's life in India, or that particular part of India, at the time. I read The White Tiger and bought this one on the strength of that whereas The White Tiger also had a streak of pointlessness running through it, in my mind that is, it had a more developed plot line. Between Assssination was a collection of narratives that with no connecting thread and all just left me feeling flat and thinking I will avoid this author now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So bad it shouldn't exist, 29 Jun 2013
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I bought this audiobook to keep my mind occupied on my long comute to work. Terrible mistake! The story is low in interest as the author, Aravind Adiga keeps making the same points over and over again. Maybe he found his writing so boring he kept forgetting what he was talking about? I believe my dog can write better stories.
On top^of this and as if the incredible lack of writing talent wasn't enough Kerry Schale's voice acting is purely atrocious. Every characters sound the same. There's no room for subtle emotion acting at all. If one could die of boredom Kerry Schale would be the cause.
I felt terribly sorry not being mentally able to listen to the rest of Aravind Adiga's social and economic vision of an imaginary town in the 80's, between the assassinations of Indira Ghandi and Rajiv. The idea is great in itself. But the result is appalling. Poor. Terrible. Flat. Lifeless. Avoid if you can.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Almost, but not quite, 9 Jun 2012
By 
Mr. Roy T. Nolan (Cumbria, England) - See all my reviews
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A selection of snapshots of different character's lives in a fictional mid size Indian city.
This is well written and takes the reader to places that most books don't cover. It gives an insight into the complexities of Indian life; caste, class, poverty, corruption.
Personally I think the separate stories needed some unifying theme that brought the character's lives together, even if only for brief moments. This may have detracted from the honesty of the book, but it would have made the whole a little more satisfying.
An ambitious, original book that doesn't quite pull off what it sets out to do.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Brief lives., 18 April 2012
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.

In the end,I enjoyed the collection a lot and turned eagerly from one story to the next but life is so much easier, for this reader at least,when he is not asked to acquaint himself with a new set of characters and circumstances after every twenty or thirty pages of a book.Give me a novel every time.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Indian Dubliners, 8 May 2011
By 
Adam Bartleby "Bartleby2009" (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Between the Assassinations (Kindle Edition)
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.

Set in the lat 1980s, this books describes everyday Indian life at a turning point - after the idealism of early post-independence socialism had died and started to rot but just before the destabilising turbo-capitalism of globalisation began to reimagine India, a story of continuity, change and dislocation that Adiga has already told in The White Tiger.
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