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Between the Assassinations Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 9, 2009


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This Book Is Bound with "Deckle Edge" Paper
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Free Press (June 9, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1439152926
  • ISBN-13: 978-1439152928
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,295,573 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. This short story collection, teeming with life in the small Indian city of Kittur between the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984 and that of her son Rajiv in 1991, serves as a prelude to Adiga's Booker Prize–winning The White Tiger. Loosely based on a tourist itinerary, the stories meander through the lives of a motley array of hoykas and Brahmins, Muslims and Christians. We meet Xerox, the peddler of illegally copied books who doesn't mind having been arrested 21 times, as this seems a step up from his father's work as an excrement shoveler. Then there is Jayamma: the eighth of nine daughters, she is sent out to work because her father had only enough money to marry off six daughters. Her only comfort is getting high on DDT fumes and rubbing the buttocks of a tiny idol of baby Krishna. Adiga's India is a place of wildly disparate fortunes, where a 500-rupee meal at the Oberoi Hotel in Bombay scandalizes a construction worker who marvels at the sight of a 20-rupee note. It's a gruesome picture of existence, and the small epiphanies hit like bricks from heaven. (June)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Inspired by Balzac's La Comedie Humaine, Adiga intended to write a portrait of Indian life; as such, place and theme, rather than characters, tie together these 14 stories. Each starts with a travel vignette -- a daylong walk around a different section of Kittur -- that introduces the town. But, as he did in The White Tiger, Adiga soon delves deeper to focus on class and caste inequalities and characters "paralyzed by their powerlessness" (Newsweek). His meticulous descriptions of men, women, and children from all walks of life offer insight into modern India, one where few such as these experience redemption. Some reviewers commented on the unevenness of the stories and the lack of overall plot, but all agreed on Adiga's important role as "a sensitive chronicler of modern India" (Telegraph).

More About the Author

Aravind Adiga was born in India in 1974 and attended Columbia and Oxford universities. A former correspondent for Time magazine, he has also been published in the Financial Times. He lives in Mumbai, India.

Customer Reviews

Aspects of the book transcend India, and Adiga clearly makes that point.
John P. Jones III
So many other folks really liked this book and found many things to rave about in it that I very much wanted to find my way through it too.
Dogs & Horses
Although these are short stories, they tie together smoothly and complete each other in their own way.
Christine B.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Murphy on July 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'll be the fool that treads where the critic-angels may fear to go: with Aravind Adiga's White Tiger debut, and his Between the Assassinations encore, we are being invited to witness the birth of a literary superstar. My argument is a brief one: White Tiger (which I loved) won the 2008 Man Booker Prize; Between the Assassinations is deeper, richer, even better.

What makes Between the Assassinations superior literature as well as an absorbingly pleasurable (superior and pleasurable are NOT necessarily synonymous!) read? Several qualities, starting with Adiga's ability to describe his homeland of India with the eye of an eagle, and the heart of a lover. In vivid, accessible, witty, fast-moving prose, the author describes life in an Indian city with a vision that is clear, but not jaundiced, realistic but not morose.

Between the Assassinations is a collection of fourteen stories that describe one week in the life of Kittur, a city with enough diversity of culture, language, and religion to give Adiga an ample backdrop for stories about inter-faith tension, caste, corruption, gentility, quiet heroism, lost love, environmental devastation, the struggle (and, at times, the smoldering rage) of the abysmally poor, and spectacular irony. The stories are strung like glittering stones on a necklace: each tale distinct, the strong thread of human life in Kittur connecting all. One story involves a Muslim child, ejected from his rural family to fend for himself during the dry season. On his arrival in Kittur, looking for employment, he states "I'm a Muslim, sir, we don't do hanky-panky." How does this creed play out in the face of sleeping on the street and flirting with outright starvation? The ending surprised me.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful By M&M VINE VOICE on June 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I should start by saying that I have not read Adiga's first book, "The White Tiger", so I can't make any comparisons. "Between the Assassinations" is a collection interrelated vignettes with the common element that they are all about people who live in the small town of Kittur. Chapters begin with a brief guidebook-like description of a landmark or area of the town. What follows each of these is a story about the struggles of the people who live there as they deal with issues of religion, caste, poverty and corruption. It's as if the author has said "Now let me tell you the real story behind the pleasant guidebook description."
One story is about a man who owns a shirt factory. He is in despair about the bribes he is required to pay to a multitude of city officials in order to keep the factory open. At the same time he wonders if he should keep it running because the intricate sewing the women do is making them go blind. In this story, one of the characters says, "When it comes to three things - black marketing, counterfeiting and corruption, we are world champions. If they were included in the Olympic Games, India would always win gold, silver and bronze in those three."
While I found most of the stories profoundly sad, I would recommend this book if you want a glimpse of the real India. It is a country of such contradictions -- beauty and ugliness, amazing progress and ancient ingrained prejudices. Adiga has the talent of telling his characters' stories with compassion while never passing judgement on them.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert P. Inverarity VINE VOICE on July 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A short collection of somewhat interrelated short stories set in a supposedly fictional city (closely based on Mangalore?) in the Karnataka state of India that never fails to be interesting, but feels as if it falls just short of enlightening.

A few of the short stories stand out as ambiguous and haunting: the story of a young Muslim boy who finds a job watching trains, the story of a privileged young man who toys with a little harmless nihilistic violence, and the story of the lesser half of an extremely small radical Communist party who is forced to confront the end of Communism and by extension what his life has meant. They're the sort of short stories that burrow into your mind and pop unbidden into your mind for years to come. Unfortunately, the same can't be said of all of them.

What's funny is that I can't think of any stories that I disliked. From the little girl, sweetly dedicated to her undeserving father and quite wicked and foul-mouthed to others, to the newspaper reporter who finds quite another world than the one he had been writing about, to the day-laborers who are mercilessly betrayed by fate, the characters do feel realistic and worth knowing. Many of the stories do not depict epiphanies or moments of action, though - quite a few do seem to describe an average day or week in the life of the characters.

I quite liked Adiga's writing, which is unsentimental and very direct, though not simple or minimalist. The closely-observed personal interactions are of particularly high quality. His penchant for black humor and picturesque turns of phrase makes for very entertaining reading in short spurts despite the dark and embittering subject matter.
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