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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

     

Between the Assassinations

by
Aravind Adiga


[an overview of the reviews and critical reactions]


general information | review summaries | links | about the author

To purchase Between the Assassinations



Title: Between the Assassinations
Author: Aravind Adiga
Genre: Stories
Written: 2008
Length: 352 pages
Availability: Between the Assassinations - US
Between the Assassinations - UK
Between the Assassinations - Canada
Between the Assassinations - India
Zwischen den Attentaten - Deutschland
Fra due omicidi - Italia

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Why we haven't reviewed it yet:

Don't have a copy; weren't that taken by his first novel


Chances that we will review it:

Slim, but it's a possibility

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Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Evening Standard . 26/6/2009 Nirpal Dhaliwal
FAZ . 14/8/2009 Alexander Müller
The Globe & Mail . 20/6/2009 Donna Bailey Nurse
The Guardian B 11/7/2009 Vikas Swarup
The Independent . 24/7/2009 Soumya Bhattacharya
Independent on Sunday . 19/7/2009 James Urquhart
NZZ . 20/8/2009 Claudia Kramatschek
Newsweek . 15/6/2009 Susan H. Greenberg
The Observer . 19/7/2009 Tim Adams
San Francisco Chronicle A 21/6/2009 Lee Thomas
The Spectator . 15/7/2009 Lee Langley
Sunday Times . 5/7/2009 Peter Parker
The Telegraph A 5/7/2009 Ed King
The Telegraph . 10/7/2009 Stephen Abell
The Times . 4/7/2009 Joan Smith
TLS . 24/7/2009 Bernard Manzo
USA Today . 24/6/2009 Deirdre Donahue


  Review Consensus:

  Not quite a consensus, but some very impressed.

  From the Reviews:
  • "His direct, low-key and accessible prose is his great strength, producing pithy stark images (...) Readable as his new book is, he missed an opportunity truly to become the trailblazer that many think he already is." - Nirpal Dhaliwal, Evening Standard

  • "Derart desillusionierend gestalten sich die meisten Schilderungen Adigas, der gleichwohl mit einem exzellenten Blick für das Detail noch dort Augenblicke der Schönheit entdeckt, wo es am schmutzigsten und verkommensten zugeht. Dabei bleibt seine Prosa weitgehend frei von exotistischem Dekor, Sentimentalitäten oder allzu simplen Kontrastierungen in der Figurenzeichnung. Geschickt, allerdings ohne den Spannungsbogen eines Romans aufzubauen, fügt Adiga, der sich für sein vielschichtiges Stadtporträt von Autoren wie Balzac und Maupassant inspirieren ließ, die einzelnen Teile zu einem Ganzen." - Alexander Müller, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

  • "Over all, these stories want some of that subterranean magic that characterizes the finest examples of the form. But they are well crafted, ironic in tone, with splashes of humour, horror and grace: Sublime moments scattered throughout project a miraculous quality of light. (...) Between the Assassinations is not only about contemporary India; it is also about politics and human nature." - Donna Bailey Nurse, The Globe & Mail

  • "As a conscientious exploration of the microcosm of India and as vignettes of town life, the individual chapters work well, but as short stories they are a mixed bag." - Vikas Swarup, The Guardian

  • "Between the Assassinations is every bit as sharp, sardonic and compelling as The White Tiger. How strange (or is it?) that it did not at first find a UK publisher, and needed the success of the novel to appear." - Soumya Bhattacharya, The Independent

  • "These punitive lives steadily accumulate into a simmering outrage at the injustice of poverty and caste discrimination, both in principle and in muscle-knotted, exhausted, hungry, desperate reality. (...) Moral complexities give texture and depth to most of Adiga's conflicted or oppressed characters, but the landscape of endemic corruption and relentless contempt for the have-nots makes Between the Assassinations a forceful, sobering interlude." - James Urquhart, Independent on Sunday

  • "Doch der Tenor der Geschichten -- darauf zielt die symbolische Abschlusserzählung des Bandes -- ist klar: Die Gründungsideale einer gewaltfreien und für alle offenen Nation, die sich Indien seit Erlangung seiner Unabhängigkeit im Jahre 1947 bis heute auf die Fahne schreibt, sind, so Adiga, ebenso zu Staub zerfallen wie der Traum der (noch heute in Südindien regierenden) Kommunisten von einer sozial gerechten Gesellschaft." - Claudia Kramatschek, Neue Zürcher Zeitung

  • "As literature, Between the Assassinations feels slighter than The White Tiger. But as a portrait of India, it's far richer and more nuanced, encompassing the perspectives of Muslims, Hindus and Christians; rich and poor; young and old; upper caste and lower." - Susan H. Greenberg, Newsweek

  • "It is Adiga's near-sightedness that brings his writing to life. His eye moves among the crowd with a restless precision, alert to the realities of each unremarkable existence. His subject is the everyday frustration brought about by discriminations of status, class and religion. (...) Between the Assassinations is a collection of linked short stories, not a novel, but it is a page-turner none the less." - Tim Adams, The Observer

  • "With richly detailed descriptions of life in Kittur, from the cart puller to the journalist to the scion of the town's richest man, Adiga achieves in a dozen pages what many novels fail to do in hundreds: convincingly render individual desire, disappointment and survival. (...) Between the Assassinations commands attention from beginning to end." - Lee Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle

  • "Adiga captures the townsfolk with tiny, telling details, rich and poor alike anatomised. (...) These lives of desperation -- quiet or clamorous -- would be unbearable to read about without Adigaís wild humour and spring-heeled prose. His characters leap off the page, if only to grab you by the throat." - Lee Langley, The Spectator

  • "Adiga is at his best when describing the everyday realities of village people who escape to a big city, or are sent there by their families, and end up living on the streets and doing the most menial jobs. (...) Kittur is intended as a microcosm of India, and if Adiga doesnít achieve this in the way Tabish Khair did in his marvellous 2004 novel, The Bus Stopped, taken together these rich slices of life form an enjoyable and readable whole." - Peter Parker, Sunday Times

  • "Despite his clear political agenda, there is nothing didactic or solemn about Adigaís writing. As in The White Tiger, the joy of reading Between the Assassinations derives from the life he breathes into his characters. (...) In these stories, Adiga displays the full range of his imagination. This is fiction at its most ambitious and incisive and every bit as impressive as his debut." - Ed King, The Telegraph

  • "Of course, all this could have been no more than a series of serious-minded tableaux about poverty and disenfranchisement, worthy like a Booker-winner, but not all that enjoyable to read. But we soon notice the skill with which the tales have been unified, made to coalesce around reality. (...) With Between the Assassinations, Adiga has certainly demonstrated that he is an important literary talent, a writer capable of evocation without extravagance, a sensitive chronicler of modern India." - Stephen Abell, The Telegraph

  • "There is something Dickensian about Adigaís outrage on behalf of people who have nothing. He is Dickensian, too, in the way in which he creates dozens of characters, bringing them to life with a few telling details. If there is something not quite satisfying about Between the Assassinations, it isnít just the overlap with The White Tiger; itís that the individual stories and characters barely connect." - Joan Smith, The Times

  • "The volume as a whole has the feel of a sketchbook: the stories are true to the nuances of life but they do not convey a wider view. The effect of fragmentariness comes from the way many stories seem open to further development, but the collection has an impressive range, and displays an alert, comic tenderness, which can register the delicate movements of indistinct feeling and the dignity of deflected lives." - Bernard Manzo, Times Literary Supplement

  • "Assassinations offers a complex, nuanced depiction of India." - Deirdre Donahue, USA Today

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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Links:

Between the Assassinations: Reviews: Aravind Adiga: Other books Aravind Adiga under review: Other books of interest under review:
  • See Index of Indian literature

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About the Author:

       Indian author Aravind Adiga was born in 1974. He attended Columbia and Oxford universities, and worked for Time.

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© 2009-2011 the complete review

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