Between the Assassinations

Between the Assassinations

Book - 2009
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Baker & Taylor
In this short story collection set in the Indian city of Kittur sometime between the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and that of her son Rajiv in 1991, Adiga creates a cast of characters--from a twelve-year old boy to a Marxist-Maoist Party member--who are immersed in class struggles and their own personal denouements.

& Taylor

Presents a collection of short stories describing life in the Indian city of Kittur between the time of the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and that of her son Rajiv in 1991.

Simon and Schuster
Welcome to Kittur, India. It's on India's southwestern coast, bounded by the Arabian Sea to the west and the Kaliamma River to the south and east. It's blessed with rich soil and scenic beauty, and it's been around for centuries. Of its 193,432 residents, only 89 declare themselves to be without religion or caste. And if the characters in Between the Assassinations are any indication, Kittur is an extraordinary crossroads of the brightest minds and the poorest morals, the up-and-coming and the downtrodden, and the poets and the prophets of an India that modern literature has rarely addressed.

A twelve-year-old boy named Ziauddin, a gofer at a tea shop near the railway station, is enticed into wrongdoing because a fair-skinned stranger treats him with dignity and warmth. George D'Souza, a mosquito-repellent sprayer, elevates himself to gardener and then chauffeur to the lovely, young Mrs. Gomes, and then loses it all when he attempts to be something more. A little girl's first act of love for her father is to beg on the street for money to support his drug habit. A factory owner is forced to choose between buying into underworld economics and blinding his staff or closing up shop. A privileged schoolboy, using his own ties to the Kittur underworld, sets off an explosive in a Jesuit-school classroom in protest against casteism. A childless couple takes refuge in a rapidly diminishing forest on the outskirts of town, feeding a group of "intimates" who visit only to mock them. And the loneliest member of the Marxist-Maoist Party of India falls in love with the one young woman, in the poorest part of town, whom he cannot afford to wed.

Between the Assassinations showcases the most beloved aspects of Adiga's writing to brilliant effect: the class struggle rendered personal; the fury of the underdog and the fire of the iconoclast; and the prodigiously ambitious narrative talent that has earned Adiga acclaim around the world and comparisons to Gogol, Ellison, Kipling, and Palahniuk. In the words of The Guardian (London), "Between the Assassinations shows that one of the most important voices to emerge from India in recent years."

A blinding, brilliant, and brave mosaic of Indian life as it is lived in a place called Kittur, Between the Assassinations, with all the humor, sympathy, and unflinching candor of The White Tiger, enlarges our understanding of the world we live in today.

Publisher: New York : Free Press, 2009, c2008
Edition: 1st Free Press hardcover ed
ISBN: 9781439152928
Branch Call Number: FIC ADI
Characteristics: 339 p. :,map ;,23 cm.


From the critics

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Sep 26, 2017

I agree with the comment comparing this novel to Naguib Mahfouz's The Harafish. Sometimes the stories briefly connect, but really this is a series of short stories which combine to give a composite portrait of a town in Karnataka in the late 1980s.

Jane60201 Mar 31, 2014

Another sharp commentary on life in India, arranged as a travel guide as well as a series of interrelated short stories dwelling on caste and class issues in a Hindu/Christian/Muslim town.

sit_walk Nov 09, 2009

It's an interesting book, although less engrossing than The White Tiger. In its serial short story approach and its crystal clarity it reminds me of Naguib Mahfouz's The Harafish, minus the continuity of that classic. But if you enjoyed Adiga's previous novel or Rohinton Mistry's Tales from Firozsha Baag then you will probably like Between The Assassinations too.


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Apr 25, 2011

You know what the biggest difference is between being rich and being like us? The rich can make mistakes again and again. We make only one mistake, and that's it for us.

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