Customer Review

115 of 129 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent read but a disappointing Booker., 17 Nov. 2008
This review is from: The White Tiger (Hardcover)
We agreed to read the Booker winner for book club, and this book was exactly what I expected. Far from sensationally exposing the little-known 'dark underbelly' of modern India, it is exactly the same as the all the other books exposing the little-known dark underbelly of modern India - we read Q&A last year and this book is pretty much the same, even inferior. In fact, exposing the little-known dark underbelly of modern India seems to be the most popular genre currently in print.

Having said that, this is not a terrible book, although I also didn't find it at all humourous. It is well paced and easy to read and if the author wanted to convey the utter hopelessness of everyone alive in India today, he did this well. Again though, and this is my criticism of all the other books like this, it is hard to believe that nearly everyone in India, rich or poor, is so lacking in empathy and compassion, is driven purely by greed and social status, living a kind of kill-or-be-killed solitary frontier existence. 'Family Matters' by Rohinton Mistry gives a far less obviously sensational portrait of a modern Indian family who happen to find themselves in a country rife with corruption and dead ends, rather than making this sensationalism the point of the book.

Nothing new, nothing outstanding - if I hadn't read this story dozens of times already I might have been more impressed. And was it really better than Rushdie's 'Enchantress' or Ghosh's 'Poppies'? Not for me.
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Comments

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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Jan 2009 18:07:29 GMT
"Again though, and this is my criticism of all the other books like this, it is hard to believe that nearly everyone in India, rich or poor, is so lacking in empathy and compassion, is driven purely by greed and social status, living a kind of kill-or-be-killed solitary frontier existence."

Clearly, you haven't been to India then. I found this book only too representative of the reality of life out there. I guess it says more about your lack of knowledge on this matter than a valid criticism of the book.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Feb 2009 13:24:08 GMT
John Self says:
My main gripe with this book was not the presentation of life in India, accurate or otherwise. That's irrelevant to its literary qualities, which are frankly limited. It may be the most searing indictment of corruption and social stasis ever published, but it's not particularly well written, which in the end is all that matters in a novel.

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Mar 2009 20:25:49 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Mar 2009 20:28:47 GMT
E Matthew says:
To: C Reay-Smith: I don't think your comments on Urban Fox's review are helpful; they're just offensive...

Posted on 16 Apr 2009 22:33:57 BDT
PeeBee says:
White Tiger is an important book and does reveal some uncomfortable truths about life in India, but C Reay-smith is seriously underestimating the nature of Indian people and Indian culture. It would be quite easy to depict the West as lacking in empathy and compassion etc. etc. It might be true in glimpses, but it's not the complete picture.

I don't have a problem with the portrayal of India, but if people are to regard this particular view as the sum total of India, that would betray a lack of knowledge on the matter.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 May 2009 13:38:30 BDT
Bleak House says:
Dead right Elizabeth...... I agree

Posted on 5 Sep 2010 14:52:31 BDT
Lendrick says:
"it is hard to believe that nearly everyone in India, rich or poor, is so lacking in empathy and compassion, is driven purely by greed and social status, living a kind of kill-or-be-killed solitary frontier existence."

Spot on review - particulalry the above comment. Oh, and I have been to India.

Posted on 15 Jan 2013 21:27:36 GMT
Bryant says:
I think you sum the book up pretty well. It's an enjoyable read, but once you're done it's very quickly forgotten. You're waiting for something new or something very clever to pop up but unfortunately this never really happens.

It's a good book, and a definitive 3 stars.

In reply to an earlier post on 19 Jul 2013 14:48:49 BDT
Dan Crawford says:
So then Mr. Reay-smith (to paraphrase) you think you are more entitled to your opinion than anyone else?
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