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The White Tiger Audio Download – Unabridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 407 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 8 hours and 15 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Unabridged
  • Publisher: Oakhill Publishing Ltd
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 5 Dec. 2008
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SQATX2

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Wynne Kelly TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: 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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Format: Hardcover
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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