A Guardian, Financial Times, The Millions, Vulture, and Buzzfeed's Most Anticipated of 2020
'An immigrant’s view conveyed with authority and wit . . . Adiga is a startlingly fine observer, and a complicator, in the manner of V.S. Naipaul.’ New York Times
From the bestselling, Man Booker Prize-winning author of The White Tiger and Selection Day, Aravind Adiga, comes the story of an undocumented immigrant who becomes the only witness to a crime and must face an impossible moral dilemma.
Danny – Dhananjaya Rajaratnam – is an undocumented immigrant in Sydney, denied refugee status after he has fled from his native 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 Australian life.
But then one morning, Danny learns a female client of his has been murdered. When Danny recognizes a jacket left at the murder scene, he believes it belongs to another of his clients — a doctor with whom he 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 a single 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.
Suspenseful, propulsive, 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.
In the media
The kind of sharp social anthropology at which Adiga excels . . . Brimming with empathy as well as indignation, this novel . . . extends Adiga’s fictional concern with deprivation and injustice.
What makes Amnesty an urgent and significant book is the generosity and the humanity of its vision. The abstract issue of immigration, fodder for cheap politics, comes starkly alive in the story of this one man, his past troubles and his present conflict. Amnesty is an ample book, pertinent and necessary. It speaks to our times.
Juan Gabriel Vásquez New York Times
A mesmerising, breakneck quest of a novel; a search for the true sense of self, for the answer to a moral dilemma which damns either way. The scope and profundity of Victor Hugo, the humour and wit we’ve come to expect from Adiga, and a novel which suggests the impossibility of keeping a sense of the self in a globalised world which either forces assimilation or exile.
[Adiga] has more to say than most novelists, and about 50 more ways to say it . . . Adiga is a startlingly fine observer, and a complicator, in the manner of V.S. Naipaul . . . This novel has a simmering plot . . . You come to this novel for . . . its author’s authority, wit and feeling on the subject of immigrants’ lives.
Dwight Garner New York Times