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

Book Review: The White Tiger.

 And the hint is SERVANT, PHILOSOPHER, ENTREPRENEUR, MURDERER…’That’s hBook Review: The White Tigerow the back cover (the Indian version) introduces you to this captivating work of words,

Let’s start with the story that sprouts at Laxmangarh, a small village situated on the bank of Ganga, the holy river of India (though the protagonist doesn’t think so). it is the place where Balram alias Munna, the protagonist in the story, was borne as a underprivileged child who could not even finish his elementary education.

 

Book Review: The White Tiger…Picks the Pace

The novel is based on the disparities of two worlds. The one is darkness, inhabited by poor and underprivileged who cannot even meet their bare minimums. The other one is  lighted world, inhabited by zamindars, politicians, businessmen etc who shamelessly exploits the ones from darkness, making them even more poor and grows their own grandeur.

It is the story of Balram Halwai who hails from darkness but possesses the will, wisdom and most importantly cunningness to break into the light, the world of riches. During his journey from darkness to light, he plays several roles, dons several hats, tries different tricks and commits many crimes – one of which includes the cold-blooded, well-planned murder of his master and escaping with money that values in lakhs.

Taking off from Laxmangarh, the story progresses with his journey to Dhanbad, delhi and finally ends at Banglore.

Despite the fact that it belongs to the class of literary fiction, the language is quite simple making it an easy read. I don’t think you will be needing a dictionary to understand it as in the case of conventional novels.

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. It is something which is true but overly done at times (may be because of my sense of possessiveness of India).

No doubt, the story is captivating, which progresses with pace holding suspense and revealing the folds in layers, leaving you agape at certain instances.

Book Review: The White Tiger Quotes

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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7 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.

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