The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
Published by Atlantic Books
Published 27 May 2014
I read this for 2017 Popsugar Reading Challenge. The category is ‘a book of letters’.
WHAT’S IT’S ABOUT
Balram Halwai is the White Tiger – the smartest boy in his village. His family is too poor for him to afford for him to finish school and he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. But Balram gets his break when a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. As he drives his master to shopping malls and call centres, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, while knowing that he will never be able to gain access to that world. As Balram broods over his situation, he realizes that there is only one way he can become part of this glamorous new India – by murdering his master. The White Tiger presents a raw and unromanticised India, both thrilling and shocking – from the desperate, almost lawless villages along the Ganges, to the booming Wild South of Bangalore and its technology and outsourcing centres. The first-person confession of a murderer, The White Tiger is as compelling for its subject matter as for the voice of its narrator – amoral, cynical, unrepentant, yet deeply endearing.
From the Desk of:
His Excellency Wen Jiabo,
The Premier’s Office,
Capital of the Freedom-Loving Nation of China
From the Desk of:
‘The White Tiger’
A Thinking Man
And an entrepreneur
Living in the world’s centre of technology and outsourcing
Electronics City Phase 1 (just off Hosur Main Road),
Mr Premier, Sir
Neither you nor I speak English, but there are some things that can only be said in English.
WHAT I THOUGHT
The White Tiger is hugely enjoyable. I really enjoyed the structure of the novel, letters between a businessman in Bangalore and a politician. I’ve only read a couple of books written in the form of letters so this made a nice change. A casual glimpse could lead to the conclusion that this novel is humorous but there is a lot of darkness as well, in fact the book is much darker than I expected but there is great humour as well. One of the most enjoyable things about The White Tiger is the glimpse it gives into the culture of India. I found the novel’s setting fascinating and Balram’s experiences far removed from my own. The novel is very critical of India. I have no idea if the observations and asides in the novel or true but they come across as facts. Overall, I thought this was very good.