What the reader also gets, especially if you happen to be an average Indian is a massive kick to the gut, a bleakness and devastation that is beyond anything you have ever known could exist. When everything from your land to the person next door to you and everything else in your life in your country is presented to you covered with dog shit and arsenic but stinking of selective truth and reality, how do you come to terms with it?
I have no quarrel with the possible reality of the picture portrayed by him. What I couldn't stand was the relentlessness of a single-minded and overwhelmingly bleak narrative that stubbornly refused to inject some sense of hope or beauty into the book. I suppose he can argue that that is how life is for a certain section of society. How real is that? Basic human nature contradicts this. No matter how difficult or harsh the life or circumstances, people find a way to find some relief, some joy, somewhere. Our survival instincts demand this...otherwise mass suicides wouldn't be uncommon. However, in this book, initially the protagonist's joys are tainted by mere foolishness and stupidity, later by murder. That gets to me, in the entire book, there is no single instance of untainted joy or hope or happiness or even a mere lightness of spirit at any point in anybody's life. This actually makes me question the author's grasp of reality and his claim to have the authority to decipher the "real India" which apparently lies somewhere beyond current economic progress. What does he think is going on here? An economic holocaust?
My ire boils down to this fact...writing an entire book focussed on one aspect of life, "poverty" and using it as a weapon to strike at the heart of hope and the dream of a decent life in this country is a petty war to wage against one's nation and her people in the name of exposing reality.
To quote Balram, quoting Pinky Madam, "what a fucking joke!". What a fucking joke Mr. Adiga, what a fucking joke!