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The White Tiger [Kindle Edition]

Aravind Adiga
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (364 customer reviews)

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Book Description


Balram Halwai is the White Tiger - the smartest boy in his village. His family is too poor for him to afford for him to finish school and he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. But Balram gets his break when a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. As he drives his master to shopping malls and call centres, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, while knowing that he will never be able to gain access to that world. As Balram broods over his situation, he realizes that there is only one way he can become part of this glamorous new India - by murdering his master.

The White Tiger presents a raw and unromanticised India, both thrilling and shocking - from the desperate, almost lawless villages along the Ganges, to the booming Wild South of Bangalore and its technology and outsourcing centres. The first-person confession of a murderer, The White Tiger is as compelling for its subject matter as for the voice of its narrator - amoral, cynical, unrepentant, yet deeply endearing.

Product Description

Andrew Holgate, Sunday Times

`Unlike almost any other Indian novel you might have read in recent years, this page-turner offers a completely bald, angry, unadorned portrait of the county as seen from the bottom of the heap; there's not a sniff of saffron or a swirl of sari anywhere... The Indian tourist board won't be pleased, but you'll read it in a trice and find yourself gripped.'

Pankaj Mishra

`In the grand illusions of a "rising" India, Aravind Adiga has found a subject Gogol might have envied. With remorselessly and delightfully mordant wit The White Tiger anatomises the fantastic cravings of the rich; it evokes, too, with startling accuracy and tenderness, the no less desperate struggles of the deprived.'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 861 KB
  • Print Length: 292 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1416562591
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Oct. 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (364 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,652 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities. His first novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for 2008. A former Indian correspondent for Time magazine, his writing has also appeared in the New Yorker, the Financial Times, and the Sunday Times among other publications. He lives in Mumbai.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
181 of 188 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Can the tiger escape his cage? 10 Dec. 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Balram Halwai is a poor low-caste Indian, the son of a rickshaw-puller who somehow manages to crawl his way up to be an entrepreneur in Bangalore. He tells his story via a series of letters written to Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Premier who is about to visit Bangalore. The poor parts of India are referred to as the Darkness which is a world filled with hunger, servitude and life-long debt. Modern Delhi is referred to as the Light. This is a world where men and women grow fat, have air-conditioned cars, mobile phones and guarded apartments with large TVs and computer games. But the Light has some very murky aspects to it - bribery, corruption and murder.

The story is told at a blazing pace. Balram is ambitious and astute. He does well to become a driver for a local landlord's family - but he wants more..... The dilemma for him is whether he can shake off his chains by honest means or whether some blood will have to flow. (I was reminded of A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam in which a widow's only way of keeping her children safe is to commit a crime.)

This is not a comfortable read - it is an angry and subversive book about the new India where any notion of the "trickle-down" theory of wealth creation is well and truly quashed. I am not surprised it won the Booker Prize. As a work of literature it is not as good a piece of work as, say, A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (also about poverty in India) but it is funny, satirical and a blistering exposé of globalisation.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling, five-star 13 Jan. 2010
`All I wanted was the chance to be a man'

- Balram Halwai

The White Tiger tears through the underbelly of India with an avaricious appetite. The way of life in the poorer parts of India is exposed through the eyes of Balram Halwai, a boy from a low-caste Indian family. His tempestuous journey takes him from the slums of provincial India through the servant classes of Delhi before arriving in the call-centre-capital, Bangalore.

Aravind Adiga's debut novel offers a hidden insight into the choices and options an Indian boy faces as he grows up. Through Balram we discover life in the `rooster coop' where, for the quiet murmuring underclass, options are few and desperation is great. Remarkable is the determination and ruthlessness that Balram displays to escape his fate. His unscrupulous actions are shocking, yet we are encouraged to empathise and forgive his lack of scruples. Clearly, Balram is an individual whose desperation outweighs his conscience. His rise from servitude to entrepreneurialism is beset on all sides by the inequities of an Indian society wallowing in corruption. He soon learns that to live life `as a man', he must be, quite literally, cut-throat in his approach.

The format of the narrative, structured as a letter to the Chinese Prime Minister, started and resumed each night, gives The White Tiger a sense of realism. Balram's present-time observations and ramblings darken the story into a confession. The narrative is intense and compelling; don't be surprised when you can't put this book down.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A rare pleasure 25 Jun. 2009
This little book came as quite a surprise to me. The standard of Indian literature being notoriously variable, I still never expected such a wonderfully assured novel in the mainstream.

It's not the usual arm-breakingly thick treatise most Indian authors seem to think necessary, just an ordinary novel. It's not riddled with obscure English words that would double the reading time if you looked them all up, it's just well-written. It doesn't need to write the history and geography of India, it just uses them as the backdrop. In short, it's very readable.

The central character is a likeable chap, whatever his sins, and the story is a good one, of his rise from the gutter and crimes committed upon him and by him. It's written in epistolary form, and therefore, almost by necessity, in the first person, and he's a very honest first person. He is not above pettiness, but almost rejoices in describing his own faults. I don't even remember half of the books I read, but I remember this one very well. It's a rare pleasure, like a white tiger.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sardonic Tale of India 6 Dec. 2008
In contrast to the main character of The White Tiger, Aravind Adiga received an extensive education from some of the best institutions available-Columbia undergrad and then Oxford. In his book, however, Balram Halwai, the White Tiger or sweet maker, grows up with a very minimal education, scratching by barely with the ability to read in a system designed, it seems to keep one ignorant rather than to educate. In fact the whole system of castes in India, in modern day India, through the eyes of Balram, tends to rigidly, forcefully and cruelly keep one either in the category of servant and poverty or of the privileged and well-off. To a minimal extent Balram bucks the system and rises above his father and becomes a driver for a wealthy family. Even the wealthy, however, must maintain their businesses and position through a corrupt system of bribes to politicians who stay in power through a democracy that disenfranchises certainly the poor and perhaps others as well.
The book is written well with energy and a steady string of either interesting or amusing anectdotes as Balram progresses from "the darkness" or poor, rural India to Delhi which appears as a city in a state of rapid but chaotic modernization where buildings are rising steadily for either malls or job centers for outsourced work from countries like the US. Again the inequities abound for Balram,the driver, and those like him, and the superior castes appear anything but. The book is fast-paced and entertaining.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Break out of the chicken coop....
Published 10 days ago by John
3.0 out of 5 stars Surprisingly tame
Quite surprisingly mundane for a book that covers so many facets of life within the caste system in modern India and with a brutal murder as its central point. Read more
Published 25 days ago by Courtney Fish
5.0 out of 5 stars I read this book before going on s trip to ...
I read this book before going on s trip to India and it was so true to life. There were many occasions when reading it that I laughed out loud, and when in India every time I saw a... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Mrs G Y Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars EXCELLENT BOOK
Excellent book! Written in a very clever, unusual manner. It was recommended to me by a good friend of mine - and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by SUE WALKER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great read I was in Delhi when I read this and it's spot on
Published 1 month ago by Dave Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars outstanding
Beautifully written, humorous, dark, tragic and uplifting story. A true modern classic and one I recommend without reservation. Dan B
Published 2 months ago by daniel berke
5.0 out of 5 stars Page turner
I normally read action/crime thrillers so was not sure how I'd get on with this book but as it came highly recommended by an Australian couple I met while travelling in south India... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Naz
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
exactly as it says
Published 2 months ago by MR J R MARTIN
1.0 out of 5 stars Not impressed
I should have known when I saw it won prizes. I struggled with it to the end but I wouldn't recommend it to anyone.
Published 3 months ago by Patricia Tart
4.0 out of 5 stars this book is a great guide for travelers to India who want to...
Even though it's a work of fiction, this book is a great guide for travelers to India who want to understand the social structure and mechanics of Indian society. Read more
Published 3 months ago by maxf
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