Meet Balram Halwai, the 'White Tiger': servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer. Balram was born in a backwater village on the River Ganges, the son of a rickshaw-puller. He works in a teashop, crushing coal and wiping tables, but nurses a dream of escape. When he learns that a rich village landlord needs a chauffeur, he takes his opportunity, and is soon on his way to Delhi at the wheel of a Honda. Amid today's India's cockroaches and call-centres, its 36,000,004 gods, slums, shopping malls, and crippling traffic jams, ...
Meet Balram Halwai, the 'White Tiger': servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer. Balram was born in a backwater village on the River Ganges, the son of a rickshaw-puller. He works in a teashop, crushing coal and wiping tables, but nurses a dream of escape. When he learns that a rich village landlord needs a chauffeur, he takes his opportunity, and is soon on his way to Delhi at the wheel of a Honda. Amid today's India's cockroaches and call-centres, its 36,000,004 gods, slums, shopping malls, and crippling traffic jams, Balram learns of a new morality at the heart of a new India. Driven by desire to better himself, he comes to see how the Tiger might escape his cage ... through murder.
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I listened to this fine novel as a book-on-CD while driving. The narrator's accurate Indian accent made the story come alive, perhaps, more than with the book version.
Like Mistry's "A Fine Balance" (a better book), the story is first of all an indictment of India's political system, where elections are bought and politicians and officials live off of graft. What makes this novel rise above average is the sardonic undertone of humor. Mistry sets his work in the 1970s, and Adiga's 2008 setting shows that little has changed for the better for India's underclasses.
Apr 29, 2010
White Tiger Whines
This book sucked. I'm a voracious reader. In a typical week I will read 2 to 3 novels, so I've read thousands of books over the past fifty or so years. This may not be the worst book I ever read, but it is in the top three. Absolutely dismal, with no redeeming qualities. Well, I guess i do have to admit it was well written, but well written drivel is still drivel. Depressing to the extreme. A terrible read.
Aug 27, 2009
Winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize, "The White Tiger," by Aravind Adiga, is a pretty intense piece of work. The narrator, an Indian from a caste of sweet-makers, tells the story of his scrabble to the higher rungs of society than that to which he was born. It is darkly comedic in tone, and the narrator tells his tale so pleasantly that the reader is taken in effortlessly and almost immediately to his case. All the while, the reader feels her stomach drop out because the description of life in "the Darkness" of India is so bleak and so irreparably stacked against those born in that Darkness, that a way out can hardly be imagined. The way out, so nimbly depicted by the narrator as the reason for his success, is egregious and SHOULD be unconscionable. But it is to Adiga's credit that by the time the novel comes to that point, the narrator has won the reader over, if not to the point of championing his act, at least to understanding his reasons. This is an excruciating, hilarious, brutal, wonderful read. No, those terms are not mutually exclusive. Read "The White Tiger" and see what I mean.
Aug 9, 2009
I liked the book.I was astonished the way ,he(Balaram) killed his master&became one of the most influencial character of my life.THANK YOU FOR YOUR GREAT EFFORT TO BRING THIS STORY TO MY BEAUTIFUL SKULL..................................MR.ADIGA
Mar 22, 2009
A strong 3.5 stars!
Hmmm....this one was a little bit different, not my normal type of read. An interesting look at Indian culture through the eyes of an ambitious man of a "lower caste". I'm not quite sure what the author was trying to depict in this story but there are certainly many issues to explore: is he trying to say that India is not the modernized country its leaders want others to believe? does the main character eventually become the type of man he despises via ambition? or is his climb in society more of an issue of survival? I was also struck by the lack of accountability by the wealthier classes in regards to...well, just about everything. The author does a phenomenal job of painting the cities and economic strife of India.
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