Book Review – Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga

(No picture this time because I forgot to take one before I went back to the library).

Between the Assassinations is set in a fictional Indian town of Kittur, and the novel is really a collection of short stories that explore different facets of life for those living in the city that is rife with political tension.

While Kittur is a fictional city, the book is written in a way that makes the place come alive. Between chapters there are small segments where the author goes into detail about some landmarks, and then the next slice of life happens near that landmark. There’s also a chronology of the city, which also lends an aura of authenticity to the book and it’s easy to forget that you’re reading a work of fiction.

And that’s not entirely due to the details used to flesh out Kittur, but due to the characters as well. Adiga’s world is made up of people who are somewhat lost. He depicts a bleak existence and one that cuts to some of the unfairness of humanity. The stories show a city and a population suffering from diseases, corruption, and greed. There are acts of kindness but these are usually sparse, and end up going unrewarded.

Some people may be put off by the lack of narrative, and it’s not the type of anthology where characters pop up in different stories (there are a few instances of this but they’re basically easter eggs for those who are paying attention). However, if you can look past this you will be rewarded with a well-written piece of fiction that is borne from truth. I enjoyed it a lot, I feel that the author does a good job of making the characters feel real, and even though it deals with a lot of the same themes the stories don’t feel repetitive. Because this isn’t a story with a plot it doesn’t have a dramatic ending, but that doesn’t make it any the less enjoyable.

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