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The White Tiger: A Novel Paperback – October 14, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
From The New Yorker
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.Read more ›
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.Read more ›
The basic storyline of the novel can be summarized as follows. Balram Halwai grows up in a poor and remote village and ends up working as the driver for America returned Ashok. Incidentally Ashok is from the family of landlords who run or ruin the life of Balram's fellow villagers. Even though Ashok treats the Balram quite well compared to how servants and drivers are treated by other people, Balram siezes an opportunity to murder his master and run-off with money to become a rich businessmen. The story of Balram's journey from a village to city, the murder and his transformation into a entrepreneur is retold in form of letters that Balram writes in a course of seven nights. The letters are addressed to Chinese Premier and are laced with a dark wit and provocative confessions.
The novel succeeds in chartering into a territory unfamiliar and hence exotic for Western audiences, for Adiga chooses a character from lower classes and makes him into a success story.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent read...very good writing, good narrative, excellent sense of character and place. A worthy, but not outstanding Booker winner.Published 16 hours ago by Amazon Customer
This is an excellent novel that belies any idea that India has become a part of the modern democratic world as a result of its success in developing software, epitomized by its... Read morePublished 7 days ago by John Fitzpatrick
Good book just not what I was looking for. I liked the whole "breaking out of the coop" sorta plot line thoPublished 16 days ago by Jim
clever and funny and tender all at once. just perfect. a must-read.Published 21 days ago by Hilal Isler
Having been to India, I can relate some scenes and people in India yet it is a heart awakening story!Published 1 month ago
I've never wanted to visit India and after reading this book I definitely do not. (But seriously, the book is excellent and very witty and dark at the same time.)Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Having just returned from a month in India, I was searching for a deeper understanding of the caste system. This book gave me that and do much more. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
This author lost me when he did not give a redeeming quality or alternative logic to the character's choice to commit murder. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Susan C. Marki