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book review the white tiger a book by aravind adiga

Book Review: The White Tiger – A book by Aravind Adiga

Book name: The White Tiger

Author: Aravind Adiga

Blurb: A stunning literary debut critics have likened to Richard Wright’s Native son, The White Tiger follows a darkly comic Bangalore driver through the poverty and corruption of modern India’s caste society.

The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur.

On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as a driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.

Recalling The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, and scope, The White Tiger is a narrative genius with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation – and a startling, provocative debut.

Review : The White Tiger is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It was first published in 2008 and won the 40th Man Booker Prize in the same year. It has been hailed as a masterpiece of contemporary Indian English literature and critics and their critique might have their reasons and, possibly, compulsions to do so.

The White Tiger is a grim, biting, unsubtle look at 21st Century India, stuck in the mire of a corrupt, cynical past, and debauching and slaughtering its way into a corrupt and cynical future, told by a working-class fellow who, through ambition, intelligence, and a willingness to be utterly ruthless is clawing his way up the rungs of the Indian class ladder. It paints a bleak picture, offering little optimism for an India that will be any cleaner, fairer, or more humane than India it is replacing

The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. No country and human beings in this world are perfect. There are negatives in every country and its people, and they should be criticized. The author, who happens to be an Indian by birth, was brave enough to criticize some of these in this book.

Aravind Adiga bashes India where it has to be bashed. No honest reader will be able to dispute that the picture of India he paints is a true one. You will find the majority of Indians embarrassedly changing the topic when Bihar (the state Adiga names “Darkness”) enters the conversation. Most of the things he mentions are not only possible but probable and even likely.

While the subject matter is dark, the novel is fast-paced and engaging, drawing the reader into the cares and concerns of the servant class. The narrator, Balram, may not be the most well-written character in literature, but he will act as a vehicle for showing an India in transition from one form of bad to another. If you are a fan of dark humor, then you can give this book a read.


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