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on 26 September 2009
I agree with a comment above that the book is quite amateurish and probably written a while back. What 'redeems' Adiga for this book is because he won the Booker prize and seems to be feeding off that. There were some parts in the book that contained the writing style of a starter and the book sometimes felt rather 'rushed' to me and without thorough editing. Also, some of the stories were simply unbelievable and I think Adiga delved too much into the realm of literary creativity and was aiming for effects, more than anything else. The only reason I finished reading the book is because I hate leaving things halfway- I cringed pretty much most of the time. It doesnt detract from the fact that Adiga writes well, but I think he should not overkill with too many metaphors.
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on 3 June 2010
After reading Aravind Adigas first book I was looking forward to reading this , however as previous reviewers have noted it is in fact a series of short stories .Unfortunately none of the stories were particularly interesting , and after the 3rd or 4th chapter for me it was a case of finishing the book for the sake of it .
Most disappointing book Ive read for quite some time .
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on 21 September 2010
The main- the only?- reason why I picked up a copy of Between the Assassinations by Arvind Adiga was because he had won the Booker Prize for his other book, The White Tiger. It was a grave mistake.

I had some reservations about The White Tiger but had found it compelling reading, although the style was crude and unnecessarily vulgar. The story had vivid descriptions about life in India, although the focus was on the problems I India rather than any positive aspect. Reading other reviews, after I had read Between the Assassinations, I learnt that this was actually written before The White Tiger. Hence any progression one might have expected from the point of content or style, was not there. Also, you do not realize that the book actually is a collection of short stories; while the unifying factor is that they are all set in the same town, there is no other link. The title is misleading as the stories are set in the time between the two assassinations in India, that of the two Gandhis, but there is no other connection.

The stories are well written, but there is far too much of the problems in India theme. One cannot deny that there are problems, but the stories read almost as if Adiga has got an obsession with these problems. Why the obsession? Not clear as to whether he feels that the rest of the world ought to know about the problems, or that such a theme would sell his book.

I cannot give it more than one star, because it was very very boring. I regretted not spending that time reading anything more worthwhile.
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on 24 April 2013
This is the worst book i have ever read. Its a compliation of short stories which have got no ending. Its a pointless book which should have never been published. Just disapointing. Awful effort and this is an inspiration for bad writers. If something like this can sell, then anything can.
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My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest;
Days of affliction confront me.

-- Job 30:27

Between the Assassinations can seem like an insignificant book about the distressing problems of people in India. One person I offered it to stopped reading after just a few pages. That's an incorrect reading in my view: This is instead a subtle book that has important things to say about the mind-forged manacles that bind us.

At first the points that are made seem to capture situations that are beyond the control of those who are subject to them. We do face situations where there will be no good physical outcome, and that's a valid part of the experience of poor and uneducated people ... especially those who are also discriminated against. Mr. Adiga soon begins to nudge past that point to show that even in bad situations, there are choices: And some choices are better than others. We have the freedom to choose the dignity of the better choices; however, many people brush aside such opportunities and simply do what feels best to them in the moment. Beyond that, Between the Assassinations points out the rather awkward truth that even those with lots of choices will often fail to make those choices, or select awful ones.

Let me share one small anecdote that illustrates poor choices in the story about a Brahmin woman who lives as an unmarried, unpaid servant because her parents could not afford a dowry for her. Resentful at this loss of status, she begins to envy those around her . . . even a Christian neighbor. It suddenly occurs to her that if she does enough sinful things, she may be reincarnated at a Christian . . . and she delights at the thought. Naturally, it never occurs to her to simply become a Christian and change her life circumstances.

Some might complain that the book leaves little room for hope: I didn't read the book that way. Instead, the book portrays people being their own worst enemies (whether they do bad things to themselves or others do bad things to them) in such ironic ways that you can only conclude that a little rationality could quickly replace most of the worst problems, along with a willing heart to look out for others. In that sense, this is a deeply spiritual book suggesting that the problems portrayed are simply ones that can be eliminated by proper living. In one of the final stories, a Brahmin communist (probably a rare combination) shakes off his long-accustomed menial duties to help a widow who has a lovely daughter. With a little knowledge, the widow's financial problems are solved. The communist, however, cannot solve his own problems: Seeking a fantasy of marrying the lovely daughter even though he is man in his mid-fifties and the family is no longer penniless, thanks to him.

As Job suffered long and hard before God restored him to twice what he had before, Mr. Adiga implies that India has great days ahead . . . when it begins to draw on its talented people in a kind and mutually supportive way to share knowledge, resources, favor, and respect. I think he's right.
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on 21 July 2010
What a disappointment after reading White Tiger. As others have said the stories don't interlink and are unmemorable and dull...Better luck next time I hope.
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on 4 September 2011
Unfortunately, Adiga repeated the same mistake he made in White Tiger and that was to fail to keep in check his dislike of the Muslim half of India. I managed to cajole myself into thinking that he was simply recording the thoughts of his character when he described all Muslims as "bombers" and the written script of Urdu as resembling an ugly scrawl created by inky crows' feet. However, in his next book, 'Assasinations' he confirmed my suspicions when he described Muslims as 'stinking' - these were the thoughts of a literary character who regularly relieved himself on the floor at the train station. Unfortunately Adiga misplaces his anger at being born into the untouchable caste, at the feet of the Muslims. His prejudices totally obliterated any literary weight or standing he had with me and I will be disposing of his books in a suitable manor such as befits such racist meanderings. I feel terrible shame for him, it must be quite a wound to carry when the very seat you sit on is then wiped down by a fellow Hindu in an effort to cleanse it from your impurities, but to then misdirect this anger at another perceived underclass circumvents any education you may have and appeases basal instincts - terrible terrible shame, I pity Adiga, I hope he can find some help before his own self hatred destroys him...
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