Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

 

 

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.

Blackwell Online

The interview continues here.

Blackwell Online Part Two of interview

22 comments:

  1. I gave this book 3/5 I found it highly entertaining and quite a quick read but I dont think it really told me anything new. Glad I read it though.

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  2. It sounds very interesting!
    JDL magazine is a Danish publication!
    Buona serata!
    Vale

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  3. I chose this book for the book club I run at the library. While no one LOVED it, everyone did think it was a fascinating story and look into Indian life, culture and social classes.

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  4. Thanks for your review. I felt the same way!!!

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  5. i didnt quite like the book too and just thought it was too overrated.But it was definitely better than his other book,between assassinations.

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  6. It was a fascinating read, but I felt the same way as you, the narrator was just too cold.

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  7. Jessica - I gave it 8/10 on my Bookcrossing review, I am pleased I read it also but doubt I would have done so had it not won the Booker Prize.
    Les Cotrions - It is thanks for info about that journal.
    Pam - I have yet to find a really rave review.
    Bookquoter - Did you write a review?
    Bedazzled - I have not read any other work by this author.
    Avid Reader - Do you think he was meant to be a cold character or was it just us?

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  8. Part of me thinks he was meant to be cold. I don't think he could have done everything he did if he wasn't that way. But it still didn't work for me, even if it was intentional.

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  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  10. Hi, Lindy thanks a lot for your valuable comment on my review..I really appreciate for the suggestion...I am new in this field..and experienced people like you can only guide us in proper way....glad to follow you blog...and will be in touch with you...Thanks once again....

    (I had to delete my earlier comment as I misspelled your name...sorry for that...)

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  11. Avid Reader - Maybe, I was not even able to work out if this was intentional from the interview, unless I missed something?
    Silence Sings - Welcome as my latest follower and glad you did not mind my suggestion. I have suggested another blog for you to look at over on Book Reviews. Desert Book Chick, listed in my side bar, as she has written a series of articles on writing reviews that you may find useful.

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  12. Hi Lindy, Just stopping by to let you know I read this book before I started my blog. And although I did like the book, I guess I didn't love it enough to reread it again for my blog. I wasn't too fond of Balram either.

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  13. BookQuoter - Life is too short and too many other books out there waiting to be read, so I understand why you did not reread for your blog.

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  14. I have read it recently and I liked the book.. I agree it is written more for the western world and we, Indians are far too aware of the glaring rift between the rich n the poor in INDIA.. I will not say it was exaggerated..

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  15. Jyoti@ It is interesting to hear what you have to say bearing in mind it is about India but written for the western world. I will read your review.

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  16. Must be an enjoyable read The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga . loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

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  17. mohit@ Welcome to my book blog, thankyou for your compliments.

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  18. Mohit@ Your comment appeared again so I have deleted the identical second one.

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  19. Our Bookclub read this and the question was: would any of you do this to restart a family in a better strata? The family goes on, and is now more successful, minus individuals others will forget? At first everyone said never, but as conversation went on, the fact that in India a person is locked in forever, not like in America, the conversation continued. Interesting overall. Love your blog.

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  20. Anon@ Thankyou for taking the time to comment, it is good that your book club found this title stimulated plenty of discussion.

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  21. Haven't read this book but loved the interview.
    Thanks for sharing!
    I then read couple of his articles and liked "Art of Provincial" :)
    Thanks to you!

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  22. Diventia@ I am pleased you found the interview interesting and it led you on to discover more.

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