Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga
Published: 2009 by Free Press
Between the Assassinations is Aravind Adiga’s second work of fiction that I’ve seen published in the United States. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize and was a tale about the not-so-pretty side of India; and while not as harsh, in Between the Assassinations Adiga still describes a brutal reality of Indian life that is uncomfortable to us in the West.
The book is a collection of linked short stories set in Kittur, India. The stories describe the interesting characters who inhabit the town and the hardships of everyday life that most of them must endure only to just barely survive. Set in the period between the assassinations of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and of Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 (though Rajiv Gandhi is not mentioned at all in the book), the conditions described are not of ancient history; as in his first novel Adiga portrays India realistically, with its beauty and sensual delights along with the poverty and squalor.
I didn’t love this book, but as I am fascinated with India and hope to one day visit, I did enjoy reading it. Again, its realistic description of life in the country is eye-opening.