Three novels and a collection of short stories on, it is beginning to be clear that Aravind Adiga has claimed a piece of literary terrain for his own and devised a style to go with it. That terrain is urban India; his characters are the working and lower-middle classes – on the make, fired by ressentiment and far from idle. The ancestral village is for many of them a living memory. Adiga’s city, temptress and abuser, maintains a permanent assault on the individual’s integrity.
Coexisting with Adiga’s tough-mindedness is an ethical mission, thrilling, dangerous and often futile: that of trying to individuate yourself in a world that would rather you didn’t bother. The go-getting subaltern narrator of his first, Booker Prize-winning novel, The White Tiger (2008), was capable of deceit, betrayal and