Critical Praise for Between the Assassinations
Aravind Adiga’s first book, The White Tiger, received glowing reviews, and now many critics are saying his new collection is even better. Here are a few recent evaluations.
As literature, Between the Assassinations feels slighter than The White Tiger. But as a portrait of India, it's far richer and more nuanced, encompassing the perspectives of Muslims, Hindus and Christians; rich and poor; young and old; upper caste and lower. Adiga, a journalist, believes that multiplicity of viewpoints has been missing from contemporary Indian fiction, as well as from the national discourse. "The most patriotic thing a creative artist can do is challenge people to see their country as it is," he says. Indians may not always like what Adiga has to say, but their future depends on his freedom to keep saying it. — Newsweek
It’s in the hearts of his characters where Adiga reveals great depth and breadth, spanning the ages from youth to late maturity, and giving us a range of people whose caste affiliations and immediate aspirations for their lives rank from the highest to the lowest. — NPR
Once again, Adiga displays the big-time talent that made his debut novel, The White Tiger, such a sensation and earned the Indian journalist the 2008 Booker Prize. With Between the Assassinations, Adiga links together a series of stories to create a portrait of the inhabitants of an Indian town he calls Kittur. Set between the 1984 assassination of Indira Gandhi and the 1991 assassination of her son Rajiv, the book presents a Zola-esque range of characters — from wealthy factory owners to pampered schoolboys to a Muslim porter scraping to stay alive. Assassinations offers a complex, nuanced depiction of India. — USA Today
Following the international success of The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga's Man Booker Prize-winning debut novel, might daunt the most surefooted of writers. But Adiga's second book, Between the Assassinations— interconnected stories all set in the fictional city of Kittur—further proves his talents for observation and pinpointing the complexity of modern India. With richly detailed descriptions of life in Kittur, from the cart puller to the journalist to the scion of the town's richest man, Adiga achieves in a dozen pages what many novels fail to do in hundreds: convincingly render individual desire, disappointment and survival. — San Francisco Chronicle
Adiga's real strength in these stories is his deftness in turning tiny detail into something hugely revelatory of milieu, company, and states of mind. In one house, built close by the remnants of Kittur's forest, regular soirees are held by its owners, and "guests and hosts together watched as herons, eagles, and kingfishers flew in and out of the darkening mass of trees, like ideas circulating around an immense brain." Meanwhile, the BBC plays in the background, "a gravy of words that the intimates dipped into when their conversation ran dry." ... It is Adiga's sense of humor, and the irony he finds in small things, and his ability to translate whim into humanity's obstinate impulse to say "no," that make these stories great. — Boston Globe