Does a person without rights still have responsibilities? That’s the main question Aravind Adiga attempts to answer in his new book, Amnesty. This time the bestselling, Man Booker Prize–winning author of The White Tiger and Selection Day tells about a young illegal immigrant who must decide whether to report crucial information about a murder—and thereby risk his deportation.
Danny, formerly Dhananjaya Rajaratnam, is an illegal immigrant in Sydney, Australia, who has been denied refugee status after his escape from Sri Lanka. Working as a cleaner, living in a grocery storeroom, for three years he’s been trying hard to create his new identity. Now, with his hidden accent and highlights in his hair, he has a beloved vegan girlfriend, Sonja. He is so close to living a normal life.
But one morning, Danny finds out that one of his female clients has been killed with a knife. Her body was found at a creek he’d been to with her before. A jacket was left at the scene of the crime, and Danny believes it belongs to another of his clients—a doctor with whom this woman was having an affair.
Danny has to make a difficult choice: Tell everything he knows about the crime and risk being deported? Or say nothing, and let justice go undone? Over the course of one day he has to decide, assessing the weight of his past as well as his dreams for the future. Danny must wrestle with his conscience and decide whether a person without rights still has responsibilities.
Aravind Adiga’s Amnesty is both a timeless moral struggle and a universal story with particular urgency today.