Thursday, July 2, 2009

Between the Assassinations by Aravind Adiga

If you enjoyed Adiga's White Tiger, winner of the Man Booker Prize last year, then you will probably like his new collection of gritty short stories. They are set in the Indian southwestern coastal city of Kittur, during the time period bracketed by Indira Gandhi's assassination in 1984 and the assassination of her son, Rajiv Gandhi, in 1991.

Caste and social class continue to play an important role in modern India. These stories are mostly about the underdogs of society, the hard-working (and sometimes not-so-hard-working) poor, and all but two of them focus on men rather than women or girls.

I discovered that, even though I prefer (in general) reading about the lives of women, my very favourite story is "The Sultan's Battery," in which a snake oil salesman goes out of his way to help a young man who has no one else to whom he can turn.

Eleanor Wachtel spoke with Adiga on June 21, 2009.

No comments: