Paper tigers

Before Aravind Adiga’s crudely moralising novel, he wrote crudely moralising short stories. S Subramanian reviews “Between the Assassinations” by Aravind Adiga in The National:

It is no coincidence that Aravind Adiga’s book of short stories, Between the Assassinations (written before his Booker-prize winning debut The White Tiger, but just now published in India), also begins at a railway station. The station is in the fictional town of Kittur, which a short prefatory note locates on India’s western coast, between Goa and Calicut. To really understand the town, Adiga writes, “a minimum stay of a week is recommended.” He gives himself 12 stories.

Narayan and Adiga lived through inarguably the two most exciting periods of modern Indian history – the former through India’s birth as an independent country, the latter through India’s birth as an economic contender. But Malgudi feels timeless, a compact bubble only occasionally nudged by drafts of air from the outside world. In Narayan’s lore, the two most famous people to have ever visited the village are Lord Rama and Mahatma Gandhi, and one imagines they both found a similar Malgudi waiting for them.


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