Indians will get to read this book before anyone else, as the rights have not yet been sold for the United States and United Kingdom markets.
A release within a month might seem fast but Shruti Debi, Editor, Picador India, publisher of the book for the Indian sub-continent told Deccan Herald: “Between... is a collection of short stories and is actually Aravind’s first book, but we wanted his novel to come out first as that makes it easy for an author to be established. We had signed up Aravind around mid- 2006.”
Between... happens in the seven-year period between the assassinations of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi and is set in a Malgudi-like small South Indian town on the south-western coast called Kittur. This is a representation of every town in South India according to Adiga.
Kittur is fictitious
There are twelve short stories in this book and Kittur is the common linking factor. “Aravind emphatically said it’s not the Kittur of Belgaum district but is completely fictitious. Early readers of the book have said that the characters are somewhat like R K Laxman’s common man and the book reminds us of Narayan’s Swami and Friends. It is also said that the cumulative effect of the book is that of a novel and that it doesn’t portray India in a bad light, and is rich and relaxed in its style.
An abridged version of one of the stories — The Sultan’s Battery — appeared in The Guardian on October 18. “All the stories touch upon caste, class, communalism, economic development and represents the changing landscape of a South Indian small town,” said Debi.
The print run would be above 16,000, which is quite high for a short story collection. “The book was slated for a November release long back and the Booker for Aravind came as a terrific fortune,” added Debi.
A hectic post-Booker schedule has taken its toll on Adiga’s health and he might be able to promote the book only later and not in its first week.