- 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 Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The plot centers around Balram Halwai, a laborer born and raised in a small village utterly controlled by crooked and feudally powerful landlords. The village is located in 'the Darkness,' a particularly backward region of India. Balram is eventually taken to Delhi as a driver for one of the landlord's westernized sons, Ashok. It's in Delhi that Balram comes to the realization that there's a new caste system at work in both India and the world, and it has only two groups: those who are eaten, and those who eat, prey and predators. Balram decides he wants to be an eater, someone with a big belly, and the novel tracks the way in which this ambition plays out.
A key metaphor in the novel is the rooster coop. Balram recognizes that those who are eaten are trapped inside a small and closed cage--the rooster coop--that limits their opportunities. Even worse, they begin to internalize the limitations and indignities of the coop, so that after awhile they're unable to imagine they deserve any other world than the cramped one in which they exist. Balram's dream is to break free of his coop, to shed his feathers and become what for him is a symbol of individualism, power, and freedom: a white tiger. But as he discovers, white tigers have their own cages, too.
Of course, it's not simply the Balram's of the world caught in the rooster coop. Adiga's point seems to be that even the world's most privileged suffer from a cultural and class myopia that limits perspective and distorts self-understanding. The White Tiger is a good tonic with which to clear one's vision and spread one's wings.
The city, for Balram, consists of the glittery American-style mall (which he can't enter); the air-conditioned Honda that he drives; and the red bag stuffed with cash for politicians with power over The Stork's businesses. These two settings (and the human animals that inhabit them) set out a chasm that is utterly unbridgeable. Thus, when Balram murders his master (a fact established at the very beginning of the novel), it seems less a tragedy than the outcome of impeccable logic. I kept thinking of Dreiser's Sister Carrie, another small town character who migrates to the city. But where Dreiser is intent on portraying Carrie as someone corrupted by grinding social forces far beyond her control, Adiga deftly portrays Balram as an entrepreneur, one whose tiger's leap across the chasm is equally the product of social forces he cannot control. This leap leads to a 21st century ascent (in social and economic terms) not a 19th century descent into the loneliness that an obsession with wealth can bring.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's obvious why Adiga won The Mann Booker Prize. The writing is precise and crisp, and the structure is unique – writing to the Premier of China.Read more