Book Review: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Winner of The Man Booker Prize 2008)

“Well actually, I spat. Again and again. And then, whistling and humming, I went back down the hill.
Eight months later, I slit Mr. Ashok’s throat”.

First of all, let me know the book by Aravind Adiga has won The Man Booker Prize in 2008, one of the most prestigious awards given to the writers.

An overview of The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga: The story sprouts at Laxmangarh, a small sleepy village located on the bank of Ganga. Balram alias Munna, the protagonist, is a rebel who does not believe in the religiosity of the Indian history. He does not consider Ganga a holy river too where he spent his childhood. Munna was borne as a underprivileged child who was not even able to finish his elementary education. The kind of stigma and exploitation he witnesses during his early years may be blamed for his rebellious thoughts. 

The novel potently displays the disparities of two worlds. The first one is darkness, inhabited by poor and underprivileged who fail to meet even their bare minimums. The other one is the world of zamindars, politicians, businessmen etc who exploit the inhabitants of darkness, making them poorer while growing in clout and grandeur.

 The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is a brutal story of BBook Review: The White Tigeralram Halwai. He hails from darkness but has the will, wisdom and most importantly the meanness to break into the light, the haven of riches. During his journey from being a poor to a prosperous businessman, he plays several roles, dons several hats, tries different tricks and commits many crimes. In one of his crimes involves the cold-blooded murder of his master. He kills him mercilessly and escape with the money that values in lakhs.

Taking off from Laxmangarh, the story progresses to Dhanbad, Delhi and finally ending at Banglore.

Despite the fact that the novel belongs to literary fiction, the language is simple. It is  an easy read and the the narrative is communicative. It is written in the form of an open letter with periodic salutations and greetings powered by a hard sarcastic tone challenging the so-called image of a progressing India. It may be true but appears overly described at times.

No doubt, the story is captivating which grips readers from start to end. It progresses hurriedly, holding suspense and revealing the folds in layers, leaving the reader agape at certain instances.

The following extract can give you an idea of its compelling and captivating narration that shifts its gears unexpectedly.

“Well actually, I spat. Again and again. And then, whistling and humming, I went back down the hill.
Eight months later, I slit Mr. Ashok’s throat”.

Overall it’s a nice, compelling and eye-opener read albeit I am not sure if it really deserved a Man Booker.

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10 thoughts on “Book Review: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Winner of The Man Booker Prize 2008)

  1. Adiga is the literary equivalent of the Amitabh of the 70s and 80s; the angry young man determined to expose the Gorey log with Kaaley dhandey. In the line of Shakespeare, his Balram Halwai also perishes with the evil. And yet he survives his own end only to harvest the fruit of the much cherished luxury of the rich, constantly conscience-stricken like a Doestoevskyan protagonist. i just don’t understand why people criticise The White Tiger as something artificial and unreal. Is it because Adiga does not mention about the few goody-goodies while concerning himself with the dark open secret ?

  2. First of all thanks for reading and commenting Mr. Sharma.
    The White Tiger isn’t artificial and unreal. It’s just that it addresses only one side of the story. It’s good for Indian audience who can see the bright as well but for someone in US or UK, it’s all India have to offer.

    I’m not biased at all in my review, refer to my line “The narration is communicative, written in the form of an open letter with periodic salutations and greetings complimented with a typical sarcastic tone in an attempt to shatter the image of so-called progressing India, which is true but overly done at times (may be because of my sense of possessiveness of India).”

  3. This book is a page turner and really funny. I read it because it won a booker prize. But its so funny. It talks about the service class extensively and there hopes and dreams. The protagpnist is hilarious. Maybe cuz I’m indian I relate to indian humor more.

    1. Thanks for your comment Neha. But in my case, it’s the Indian in me that made me kinda hate this book too, otherwise it’s a perfect book. It’s all dark and I don’t think India is only about darkness.

      1. No Mr. Sharma, the book is not ” all dark”.It portrays Balram’s journey from darkness to light.If the book delineates too much darkness, it is only because there is too much darkness in our society.One does not need a spectacles to see it.

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