The White Tiger
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga Pages: 276 Published: 2008
The book: Set in modern-day India, Balram Halwai, originally a poor, uneducated man from the countryside, tells us his life story in a series of memos written to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiaboa, who happens to be visiting India.
Balram’s story is compelling and, at times, shocking. He is a witty narrator with a dark and sarcastic sense of humor. In telling his own story, we discover the many faces of India and gain an understanding of what goes on beneath what we see on the surface.
You might like it because: It’s incredibly funny and entertaining, as well as a great story. The author created a vivid picture of life in India and his main character Balram is very appealing, even if he is a sociopath.
What did other people say?
“One of the most powerful books I’ve read in decades. No hyperbole. This debut novel hit me like a kick to the head.” – USA Today
“Blazingly savage and brilliant. Not a single detail in this novel rings false or feels confected. The White Tiger is an excoriating piece of work.” – Neel Mukherjee, The Sunday Telegraph (U.K)
Awards & Recognition:
2008 Man Booker Prize for fiction
How quickly will you get into the book? The narrator’s dark humor and chatty style drew me in immediately. Three of four pages in, there was no going back.
You might not like it because: If you don’t appreciate dark humor and sarcasm, this book is not for you.
What might you read next?
Stick with a story told through correspondence, read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows.
You could read another Man Booker Prize winner from India, Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things.
Or if you want to get some insight into the dark underbelly of another culture, you could pick up The Football Factory by John King. This novel delves into the life of football (soccer) hooligans in 1990s England.