21 June, 2021

Plaintive Notes In Danny Boy

Adiga takes his beleagured immigrant to Australia and casts a gimlet eye on all forms of injustice

Plaintive Notes In Danny Boy

Aravind Adiga’s latest novel, Amnesty, is about Dhananjaya Rajaratnam, aka Danny, “an illegal” seeking asylum in Austr­alia. Through Danny, Adiga seems to be posing the question: what if the promised land is not as golden as it looks?

Amnesty is marvelously inventive (some memorable lines stay long with the reader), hilarious at times but nevertheless tinged with sadness. The hero has been set up by a former classmate, Abe, and could actually have done much better than cleaning houses had he decided to stick it out in the college and perhaps even have attained the legal status he so desperately craves.

Danny courses through the novel beset by loneliness, alienation, stress and addiction. Adiga also goes on to turn Amnesty into a murder mystery when Danny discovers that one of his clients, Radha Thomas, has been found murdered in a creek in Erskineville. Thus begins the cat and mouse game when Danny accidentally calls the murderer, Radha’s lover Prakash, who threatens to turn Danny in if he spills the beans. For a greater...

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