The White Tiger

This is a book review by the same name by Booker prize winner author Aravind Adiga and something I am compelled to write on considering the disparities that abound in India and ones that I have grown accustomed to is one thing but to read it in print and showcase a dark and perplexing character of Balram Halwai steeped in a downward spiral in terms of characterization leaves not just a sour taste in the mouth but also leaves a lot to be desired in terms of what could have been with all due respect to the author.

Book, novel, Aravind Adiga, Balram Halwai, critique
The Whhite Tiger

India is not a City of God depiction of Brazil wherein the violence is a by-product of the lines that have been drawn amongst the haves and have nots. Generally speaking, given the population, the vast majority of Indians that reside in the country seldom look at unscrupolous methods to eke out a living. Sure, we are prone to whims and fancies, the odd dose of whinging and whining, lack of respect for authority, absence of accountability and the lives that are lost without anyone raising a finger, pun intended. The novel’s narration is a transition happening in India around the early 2k period where the protaganist is thrust upon the city life for want of a better opportunity in his village and how he contrasts his ‘journey’ in the city under his masters. The characters are well etched out but somehow one is not able to look beyond the negativity or the blackhole in which Balram finds himself in. The irony in the portrayals of the masters and the driver is quite simply the zeroes in the bank balance of the characters and how best they utilize their resources. Admittedly, the kudos are for the narration through the eyes of a villager from the hinterland suddenly coming across the ways of the mighty in the city and his own desire to escape his demons by commiting a murder so that it can become a stepping stone. All in all, its a one time read only if you want to familiarize or identify with the changing landscape of India vis-a-vis the Chinese.

Aravind Adiga is an Indo-Australian journalist currently residing in Mumbai. The White Tiger was the debut novel which won the Man Booker Prize in 2008. Aravind’s parents hail from Mangalore and his paternal grandfather was the former Chairman of Karnataka Bank.

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