Amnesty by Avarind Adiga [8/10]

Avarind Adiga, 2008 Booker Prize winner (for “The Tiger“) is, in my considered opinion, one of the most immersive, brilliant stylists alive. “Amnesty,” his fifth novel, mashes us, within the opening page, into the mind of an illegal Sri Lankan immigrant working as a cleaner in Sydney, a young, earnest man on the cusp of a solid existence after three years of anxiety. When a cleaning client is murdered, Danny realizes who the killer is and must choose between justice for the dead and his own deportation. Told over one breathless day, a plotting triumph that weaves Danny’s past into a thriller ripped from the headlines, the novel broadcasts the fraught, ridiculous sub-world of the illegal, a person without status, almost without existence. Not many novels can entertain superbly (a one-sitting reading this is, I guarantee) while speaking to our modern world, while bringing us into the mind and heart of a person irretrievably split between duty and self-fear. “Amnesty” is one of the finest novels of 2020 so far.

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