My Rating: ⭐⭐
About the Author:
Aravind Adiga (23 October 1974) is an Indo-Australian writer and journalist. His articles have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Times of India. His debut novel, ‘The White Tiger’, won the 2008 Man Booker Prize.
Publication Year: 2008
‘The White Tiger’ is written as a letter to Chinese Premier Jiabao who is on a visit to India by Balram Halwai, a wealthy entrepreneur living in Bangalore. He talks about his descent from darkness (poverty) to the light (affluence). So, over the course of 7 days, he describes his journey starting from his hometown in Laxmangarh where he worked at a tea shop to Delhi, as a driver for a politician and then to Bangalore, as a successful entrepreneur.
“These are the three main diseases of this country, sir: typhoid, cholera, and election fever.”
I’m not really sure how I feel about this book. Do I think it’s brilliant? Probably, not. There were certain things I came across that I agreed with but the whole book was just disappointing on a whole. Take away all the bashing of the Indian society and you’re not left with much of a plot. Plus, the fact that this book won a prize is unfathomable to me.
This book portrays the dark and very ugly side of Indian society. It was a little disturbing to read but I know there’s a truth to it. I think it just goes overboard while trying to depict the bad side that no focus is given to developing a good story or a believable character.
Speaking of which, the main character was annoying as hell! He felt so detached and unauthentic while relaying his story that it felt like he’s writing about the life of someone else. His narration is laced with satire and dark humor but I didn’t feel any believable human emotions from him so I cannot say I feel any sympathy or empathy for him.
More than half of his narration is around him describing his life as a servant for a rich man while taking a jab at the corrupt practices and talking about how his life sucked big time. Moreover, we don’t get to see any struggles he had to go through from working as a driver to being a successful entrepreneur like it ain’t that easy. Maybe that’s the point; the system is rigged so use it to your benefit.
I have to give credit to the author though, for accurately portraying the social inequality, discrimination, corruption in India. Also, I liked some unabashedly honest quotes on Indian society and his un-embellished language.
Otherwise, it was an underwhelming and boring book. The plus side is that it took less time to read. It’s safe to say that it wasn’t for me.