Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Book Review - Between the Assassinations

This is Arvind Adiga's 2nd book and it is as dark, sorrowful, true & full of imagination as his first book. It is a collection of short stories based in a small town in South West of India; starting in 1984 & with the the last story ending in 1990. Hence the name of the book "Between the Assassinations of Indira Gandhi & Rajiv Gandhi".
The stories have nothing at which someone can smile or laugh at but yes very imaginative. (I like reading happy books). If you come from a very small town in India (which is in one of the "beemaru" (sick) states of India) then you can relate to the plights of the people shown in the book. Few of the things shown with great imaginative power of Adiga are
  • How the people of this town struggle to buy a piece of bread everyday but still want to live with pride
  • How people from villages come here, sleep on streets, work as bus conductors and pray to become big one day
  • How a teacher wishes his student can win a medal from the president of India which he missed
  • How a political party worker remains loyal to his party's work for many years and falls in love when he is in his middle age
Few things which Adiga missed and as an Indian reader I would have liked to see in the book are
  • The impact of Indira Gandhi's death to the small town
  • Impact of the congress victory in 1984 elections
  • Impact of The Bofors scandal
  • Impact of the rise of terrorism in Punjab & Kashmir
  • Impact of the civil war between LTTE and Sri Lankan government. Failure of IPKF.
  • Impact of Janta Party's victory in 1989 elections
Yes Adiga does mention few of these in the book, but I was thinking if this book is between 1984 & 1991, then a terrorist would come and hide in this town and would become a driver or gardener of a landlord. Or the political leader of this town would get caught in the Bofors Scandal and that would bring immense pressure on his family.
I mean it lacked that punch but then that is me. You can buy it from Amazon where 2nd hand copies are being sold for as less as £1. (And that is also me!)


t 11:40 PM, August 04, 2010  

So it's not bedtime story then... :(

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