Saturday, April 21, 2012

"The White Tiger" by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger
by Aravind Adiga
212 pages (Nook edition)

Short Version: An entrepreneur in Bangalore write a letter to China' president telling him the story of how he got to be where he is today.
Why I Read It: The friend I am visiting in India recommended it to me.

The Book: From
The white tiger of this novel is Balram Halwai, a poor Indian villager whose great ambition leads him to the zenith of Indian business culture, the world of the Bangalore entrepreneur. On the occasion of the president of China’s impending trip to Bangalore, Balram writes a letter to him describing his transformation and his experience as driver and servant to a wealthy Indian family, which he thinks exemplifies the contradictions and complications of Indian society.
The White Tiger recalls The Death of Vishnu and Bangkok 8 in ambition, scope, and narrative genius, with a mischief and personality all its own. Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international publishing sensation—and a startling, provocative debut.

My Thoughts: Hmm. I just finished this book before heading to the airport to go to India. The friend I am visiting told me to read it. I have to say it was not really my kind of book.
The point of view was interesting because it was new to me. Balram came for a poor Indian village yet learned enough in his few years of school to bring himself to be a driver, and eventually an entrepreneur. I have read quite a few books that took place in India but none of them were from a driver's point of view. Getting a glimpse of the hierarchies and castes even within the poor villages was very interesting.
The White Tiger was told through the letters Balram was writing to China's president. This was also new to me but I did not really like it. I don't understand why he chose to write to Mr. Premier, as he called him. The chapters were broken down into the nights he was writing- first night, second night, and so on until the seventh night when he finished his story. This clearly was a very long letter.
Balram's letter/story is all over the place. He is telling the story of how he became a driver then murdered his master and became and entrepreneur. (This is not a spoiler, we know he was a murderer in the beginning). He goes off on these tangents about chandeliers, yoga, tea shops, cell phones, etc that I just don't see the point of. Again, I kept asking myself why would you write all of this in a letter.
The overall story was a good one. Although you know about the murder in the beginning, it was still thrilling at that part of the story. Balram made quite a journey from the time he was growing up in the poor village to becoming a successful business man. I was happy when he learned to stand up for himself. This was an easy/quick read, but not really my cup of tea.

2/5 Stars

#5 in 2012 Ebook Challenge
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