A riveting, suspenseful, and exuberant novel from the bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The White Tiger and Selection Day about a young illegal immigrant who must decide whether to report crucial information about a murder--and thereby risk deportation.Danny--formerly Dhananjaya Rajaratnam--is an illegal immigrant in Sydney, Australia, denied refugee status after he fled from Sri Lanka. Working as a cleaner, living out of a grocery storeroom, for three years he's been trying to create a new identity for himself. And now, with his beloved vegan girlfriend, Sonja, with his hidden accent and highlights in his hair, he is as close as he has ever come to living a normal life. But then one morning, Danny learns a female client of his has been murdered. The deed was done with a knife, at a creek he'd been to with her before; and a jacket was left at the scene, which he believes belongs to another of his clients--a doctor with whom Danny knows the woman was having an affair. Suddenly Danny is confronted with a choice: Come forward with his knowledge about the crime and risk being deported? Or say nothing, and let justice go undone? Over the course of this day, evaluating the weight of his past, his dreams for the future, and the unpredictable, often absurd reality of living invisibly and undocumented, he must wrestle with his conscience and decide if a person without rights still has responsibilities. Propulsive, insightful, and full of Aravind Adiga's signature wit and magic, Amnesty is both a timeless moral struggle and a universal story with particular urgency today.
- ISBN-13: 9781982127244
- ISBN-10: 1982127244
- Publisher: Scribner Book Company
- Publish Date: February 2020
- Dimensions: 9.1 x 6 x 1.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.05 pounds
- Page Count: 272
Along with climate change and the rise of populist nationalism, immigration is one of several subjects that have dominated the news in the first two decades of the 21st century. It’s no surprise, then, that an accomplished novelist like Booker Prize winner Aravind Adiga would turn his attention to this challenging topic. Amnesty, the story of a brutal crime and its reverberation in the life of a self-described illegal immigrant in Sydney, Australia, is the tension-inducing, morally complex result of that effort.
Four years after dropping out of a fraudulent college and overstaying his student visa in Sydney, Dhananjaya “Danny” Rajaratnam, originally from Sri Lanka, lives in a storeroom above a grocery store, performs occasional odd jobs and also runs a small home-cleaning business. When one of his clients, a married woman, is found stabbed to death, Danny quickly realizes that her lover, a man named Prakash—an immigrant like Danny, but who obtained Australian citizenship—is likely the killer.
Over the course of a single day, in a series of text messages and cellphone conversations, Prakash and Danny engage in a cat-and-mouse game over whether Danny will share with the police the knowledge he possesses that could implicate Prakash in the crime. In an effort to deter Danny, Prakash threatens to expose the young man’s illegal status. Danny’s situation is complicated by the fact that he’s a member of Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority. Before fleeing the country, he faced detention and torture and knows he risks that fate if he returns.
Though Adiga’s sympathies clearly lie with Danny, he’s careful not to telegraph the result of this dramatic confrontation. As Danny roams the streets of Sydney and wrestles with his conscience, we see glimpses of the anxiety of life in an “archipelago of illegals, each isolated from the other and kept weak, and fearful, by this isolation.” Add to that troubling reality the weight of an ethical crisis of life-changing dimensions, and the result is a work of deeply consequential fiction.