Tuesday, 21 October 2008


The Guardian Review is quick off the mark by publishing an absorbing short story by this year's Man Booker winner, debut novelist Aravind Adiga, author of The White Tiger.

In 'The Sultan's Battery' Adiga creates a character called Ratna who could surely carry an entire novel. A hard-nosed huckster by trade, he is preoccupied with the need to marry off his three daughters but ultimately finds that human feelings and frailty cannot be ignored:

'He walked fast towards the white dome of the Dargah, a fold-up wooden stool under one arm, and in the other a red bag with his album of photographs and seven bottles full of white pills. When he got to the Dargah, he walked along the wall, without paying any attention to the long line of beggars along the wall: the lepers who were sitting on rags, the men with mutilated arms and legs, the men in wheelchairs and the men with bandages covering their eyes, and the one creature, with little brown stubs like a seal's flippers where he should have had arms, a normal left leg, and a soft brown stump where he should have had a second leg, who lay on his left side, twitching his hip continuously, like an animal getting galvanic shocks, and intoning, with blank, mesmerised eyes: "Al-lah! Al-laaaah! Al-lah! Al-laaah!"' (Continue reading...)

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