- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 8 hours and 5 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Tantor Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: April 28, 2008
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0018O22X0
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The White Tiger: A Novel Audiobook – Unabridged
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The novel is narrated by Balram Halwai, "The White Tiger" who over seven nights shares his life story in the form of a letter to a Chinese official. In Balram the author has created an anti-hero who, with both charisma and charm, shares a very dark story about corruption, death and escape from the most extreme poverty into the wealth of successful entrepreneurship. The author uses the metaphors of light and dark to help us understand his traversal of a side of India seldom seen in most tales of that country. The theme of naming/identity also plays an important role as Balram takes on different names as he grows and changes from the simple munna to his eventual magisterial identity as "The White Tiger". The author has created a sort of modern journey, much as Ellison did where the hero overcomes his beginnings, and the corruption he finds everywhere, to create a new life for himself. It is, however, a new life that is strangely cut off from society so he remains an outsider to the end. The brilliant conception of the author impressed me as he presented believable characters, the realistic details about the best and worst of Indian society, and a clear depiction of the nature of the hero at the center of the story. There is black humor that is sometimes excruciatingly funny alongside true regret, and underlying it all hints of a fear (of the past) that cannot be completely eradicated. The author's voice is original and challenging as he takes you on a journey that, while seemingly straightforward, has many layers of meaning and leaves you with questions to ponder. Genuinely deserving of the Man Booker Prize of 2008, The White Tiger is both an engaging enjoyable read and a thought-provoking meditation on life.
Born in a low caste in a poor village (the darkness), Balram becomes an entrepreneur in a big city (the light). And what if has to resort to murder in order to achieve it?
Sometimes, it seems it's the only way, at least that is how Adiga tells us the story of an ordinary man who finally decides to break free of traditions, history and family in order to live the life he has always dreamed.
At times humorous and at many other dark, this is an amazing book. Highly recommended!
The narrative turns quickly into a proper Bildungsroman on the master and slave theme. Our man is the driver to a rich clan of landowners and coal mining magnates in an Indian province that we get to know only as Darkness. Business, like politics, is based on a feudal abyss of corruption, on violence and lawlessness. The political leader of Darkness is called The Great Socialist. The man is a shameless thug, who robs all his constituents according to their donating power.
Our man is called the white tiger already as a little boy, for his will to break the barriers, to escape from the chicken coop, which imposes a self control dictatorship on the poor classes. The novel amounts to a bitter condemnation of India's social world.
In it's core it is hardboiled social realism, despite the comedic extravagances and the minor excursions into magical realism.
Why not 5 stars? I do not completely like the beginning with the Wen letters, nor the ending, when the narrator winds down his tale with the specifics of his business success.