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on 6 June 2017
I would describe Aravind Adiga's debut novel as razor sharp satirical social commentary exposing the political corruption, economic inequality and grave injustices of life in modern India. This is a rags to riches parable with an evil twist. The humour is as black as the sewage water that runs through the slums of Bangalore.

The "white tiger" of the title refers to the story's narrator and anti-hero, Balram Halwai, a self described "social entrepreneur," whose amorality makes Gordon Gekko seem like Gandhi in comparison. The story unfolds in the form of a letter that Halwai is writing to the visiting Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao (at the time this book was published in 2008) in which he regales the story of his "entrepreneurial education," in order to best illustrate the truth behind the myth of "the new India."

Suffice to say, his journey of upward social mobility from the "Darkness" (i.e., the rural village with its landlord/peasant structure) into the "Light" (i.e., the glitzy urban city with its master/servant structure) is paved with subjugation, humiliation and, ultimately, revenge. This is a tale of the brutal underbelly of India's emerging economy, with its gleaming glass apartment towers, shopping malls, and call centres.

In a world in which there is an ever growing gap between rich and poor, in which elections can be rigged and those in power can be bought, this insightfully observed novel is an alarming wake up call.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 5 August 2013
I've discovered this book very late, so there's little I can add to the numerous reviews. Although a Booker winner, I wasn't expecting to be bowled over. But I was. The narrative style is engaging; it felt as if the central character was sitting there actually speaking. The language is simple, but the content is powerful. It's filled with vivid imagery which simply reinforces many of the uncomfortable issues raised. Poverty, cruelty, exploitation and corruption; moral, political and physical...the scope is vast. The canvas is painted with loud bright colours giving the reader an insight into life in the bright lights of Delhi; starkly contrasting with impoverished village life in 'The Darkness'.

There is humour, which works well to relieve the often uncomfortable detail. A careful and fine balance makes the account realistic and compelling. A great read and if, like me, it's a book you'd not normally look at, I urge you to give it a go.
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on 21 April 2017
One of the best and most important novels of the last fifty years. Its key images have the power and significance of Orwell's boot trampling for ever on a human face, yet he manages to combine the horror with original and thought-provoking comedy. A must for going beyond Passage to India or Best Exotic Marigold Hotel but even more important for its view of the capitalist world and its inevitable consequences.
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on 1 December 2013
This is one of the best books I have read in a while and I read a great deal. It is a gripping story about a lowly servant who becomes a rich businessman. It is told as a long letter to the visiting Chinese premier, painting a vivid and disturbing picture of a deeply corrupt social and political system. It's a brilliant satire and social commentary, which is occasionally hilariously funny but always totally engaging.
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on 8 July 2017
I loved al, the detail in this book. After reading it I feel like I have physically seen the locations, the events, the characters - -and deep into the twisted psyche of the narrator. Not an easy read but highly recommended.
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on 8 November 2016
A worthy winner of its laurels. This novel exposes the faults and suffering in the heart of contemporary India. Well paced and witty it hints at the future of globalisation for all of us unless we manage to change our collective responses to each other.
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on 15 January 2015
An great insight into the culture and an interesting novel.
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on 18 November 2014
Good story. Not edge of the seat, but entertaining.
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on 16 June 2017
Really good thought provoking novel.
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on 20 March 2016
Excellent page turner. You can almost smell and hear India throughout. A real treat for the senses.
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