Monday, September 13, 2010

Between the Assassinations

Aravind Adiga
Between the Assassinations

Atlantic Books, 2010

Booker winner Adiga in his second novel (though it seems, “Between the Assassinations” was written before "The White Tiger") makes the main character fictional town Kittur, and builds the plot as a series of almost unrelated stories - seven days of life of the town.

Despite the fact that between the chapters there are not even through characters that appear in one part and then another, and every day in Kittur’s life is a complete story with its beginning and end, "Between the Assassinations" still looks solid product, at least because the city in each chapter is a full-fledged member of stories to tell. Here in the finale ends don’t meet in a melodramatic ending, as, for example, director Iñárritu, and this is understandable: if there had been all the heroes of all chapters of the novel in one place at one time, they simply would not know what to do with each other and unlikely to find a common language.
India of Adiga has not Bollywood colors. The language of his prose is simple and even beggar from the outside like most of his heroes, but with a powerful energy inside: «He was an overweight man entering the final phase of middle age, he breathed through his mouth, and a thicket of hair poked out of his nose. The centerpiece of his body was a massive pot belly, a hard knot of flesh pregnant with a dozen cardiac arrests. To walk, he had to arch his lower back, tilt his head, and screw his brow and nose together in a foul-looking squint. "Ogre," the boys chanted as he passed. "Ogre! Ogre! Ogre!"»

The characters of the novel - the seller of books, a university teacher, bus conductor, a gardener, an editor, a loader, - whatever they might be engaged in, equally aware that to live in India heavily, that caste continues to exist and determine the development of every man, that corruption is large, but they also realize that nothing can be done. And at the same time, all their thoughts are about their country. The professor from one of the parts comes into the theater, sees cracks in the walls and chairs with holes: "The simultaneous advance of decay and decadence: the story of this theatre was the story of the entire country".
And Adiga himself with his characters is sad about his country seeing how poverty and injustice suppress India.

This is a good novel, but it lacks, as the characters are filled in it, self-confidence, a bomb the student in one of the chapters planted in a classroom for his teacher. Adiga is a good observer, but he had problems with the drive. He would, indeed, add the assassinations in the book.

Let's see what will be his third novel.

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