Book Review: White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

White Tiger by Aravind AdigaThis book will be one of those books that I will think about often. It’s not a book whose plot I can easily explain, or a book that I can easily fit into a particular genre on my shelves, but my God did it pack a powerful punch. I have hardly been able to put it down between sittings.

The books is narrated via a letter from Balram Halwai, a slum-dweller-turned-driver-turned-murderer-turned-entrepreneur, to the Chinese President before the latters’ trip to India and it is here that we follow Balram on an amazing journey through his life (I say “amazing” but undoubtedly typical of many in India). Although the slums of India and the government / police etc curruption is nothing I haven’t come across before in books or films I still found myself shocked on almost a page-by-page basis. I liked the fact that there was no real hero in this book. There are no winners in a society like this.

This book is engrossing, shocking, humbling and eye-opening but it is narrated in such a way that there were laugh-out-load moments too. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I feel a little sad now it has come to an end. I will be watching for more of Adiga’s work in the future.

This book was in my Top 10 of books read in 2009 (out of the 99 that I completed).

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4 thoughts on “Book Review: White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

  1. When I was talking to my X who is from India, he said that this is a much more believable portrait of India. We were , of course, talking about Shantaram at the time. He actually disliked Shantaram and loved White Tiger.

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  2. Didn’t you find the tiger’s situation impossible? To go along with the system was to be a victim and just as bad as to fight it. I would have been less uneasy with the book if there could have been a couple of positive characters. As it was, I didn’t like any of them.

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  3. I agree, his situation was impossible. I actually liked Balram himself when he was a child but by the end it was a case of “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. You either fight to survive at any cost or you perish.

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