In what many consider to be a postrealist age, what are the new modes emerging that reflect a continued investment in representing contemporary life? This essay outlines the contours of a new social realism through the works of contemporary novelist Aravind Adiga. Against the grain of recent Indian writing, Adiga constructs a virulent critique of contemporary social issues. Adiga’s realism is not transparent, but instead raises a set of open-ended questions about the nature of interpretation, elaborating a “realist hieroglyphics”—the presentation of realism as a mode founded on indecipherability—as an aesthetics central to the political novel.


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