The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

July 22, 2011
By gaffyninja SILVER, Doha, Other
gaffyninja SILVER, Doha, Other
7 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
Fettucini alfredo is macaroni and cheese for adults.
- Mitch Hedberg

A story so crude, so unsophisticated and so blazingly savage that it seems all unfathomably striking, being narrated by an almost childishly primitive, yet deeply insightful, mind. This is the story of Balram Halwai, the protagonist of Aravind Adiga's brilliant debut novel, The White Tiger.

The book takes the form of an epistolary, a delightful one way e-mail conversation between Balram and Chinese Prime Minister, Wen Jiabao, who is never much of a prominent figure as the story progresses on. It follows the footsteps of a boy from the murkiest depths of society, or as the 'darkness' as he would put it, rise through the ranks to become a moderately succesful entrepreneur. How he becomes one, is a question of morality of the darkest kind. From his start as a house-keeper in a wealthy estate, we see, through the eyes of the poor, the life of the previliged.

Unlike most success stories, this novel is drenched in darkness and left with the stench of greed induced belligerence still lingering throughout. Another one of it's more distinctive features is the stark description of the darker side of India, it's underbelly, which is only rarely given light to the world.

However, it's most prominent element is the effect of the proverbial 'big city life'. The novel masterfully depicts the deterioration of a man as he faces the vagaries of the trap, the society, which he is so desperate to break free off. The way his mind swirls amidst the lust for money.

With it's rather dark content, the novel is best suited for more mature readers and in this case, 16 and above would be the more ideal readership.

Aravind Adiga's adroitly written masterpiece finally leaves us with the message that in darkness, it is us, who must provide our own light.

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