BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Amnesty by Aravind Adiga [in Booklist]

In his latest novel, following Selection Day (2017), Booker Prize-winner Aravind Adiga confronts a universal conundrum: at what price are we willing to do the right thing?

Over not quite 11 working hours, Dhananjaya Rajaratnam – who’s been living in Sydney for the past four years as Danny, a diligent housecleaner whose backpack vacuum cleaner makes him look more like an astronaut – has to decide if he’s going to help solve a murder. The probable cost is freedom: being an “invisible” Australian means he’s “free forever in Sydney,” even as he’s “trapped forever in Sydney.” Returning to his native Sri Lanka is not an option.

Just as he’s finishing a morning job, Danny learns that H5 – the owner of House Number Five, according to his truncated client nomenclature – is dead and quickly deduces that H6 is involved. As the hours pass, Danny just wants to deliver a cactus to his Vietnamese girlfriend (with a dose of truth), all the while avoiding the police, deportation, and a tenacious murderer. Adiga, who’s become a part-time Australian, again scrutinizes the human condition through a haves-vs.-have-not filter with sly wit and narrative ingenuity.

High-demand backstory: Bestselling Adiga’s smart, funny, and timely tale with a crime spin of an undocumented immigrant will catalyze readers.

Review: “Fiction,” Booklist, December 1, 2019

Readers: Adult

Published: 2020


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