The Man Booker Prize Winner for 2008 this was recommended to my husband and I by our elder daughter. What an intriguing first novel this is narrated by Balram Halwai a young Indian entrepreneur, in the form of emails (I think not letters as someone else suggested to me) to a high ranking Chinese official due to visit India. Over the course of seven nights during one way communication with this official Balram paints a vivid picture of life in India for rich and poor and he confesses via this medium to murder.
I found the character of Balram rather cold and matter of fact and I did not warm to him at all. Maybe I was not meant to as here is a man born into poverty that discovers that by cheating and murdering he can live the life he once only dreamed of in modern India. He seems to have no fear what so ever of the consequences of his actions. He writes an expose of how the rich in India survive and how rife corruption is, yet at the same time he also behaves in a way that shows little regard for either his family or his employers.
This narrative certainly paints a picture of the darker side of India and I suspect a lot of what he says is sadly based on truth, exaggerated or not I have no idea. Never the less it was an entertaining read and as I mentioned before intriguing. Certainly a satirical way of exposing life in India for the poor to Westerners' the market for which this novel was obviously intended as this is not a translation but was written originally in English.
For a detailed plot summary I suggest the Wikipedia page for the novel.
Photo of Aravind Adiga courtesy of his Official Website which is where I obtained the biographical information from.
Aravind Adiga was born in 1974 in Madras (now called Chennai), and grew up in Mangalore in the south of India. He was educated at Columbia University in New York and Magdalen College, Oxford. His articles have appeared in publications such as the New Yorker, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Times of India. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2008. His new novel, Last Man in the Tower, will be published in 2011.
I am also including a very interesting podcast interview with the author from Blackwell's which is well worth listening to.
The interview continues here.