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The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
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The White Tiger (2008)

by Aravind Adiga

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
7,026341515 (3.78)614
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» See also 614 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)
The White Tiger

August Globetrot. So far the BOTMs and the Seasonal Read have been a bust for me but the Random Selection, which do include to some extent the Globetrot, have been fairly generous to me and The White Tiger is no exception. Balram Halwai is one of India’s rural millions, who, thanks to a scheming grandmother, entrepreneurial intelligence, cunning, immorality, and fortuity, is hired as 2nd chauffeur for a wealthy local family. The family brings Balram with them to Delhi while they conduct business with India’s corrupt government officials. Balram is a quick study and takes subtle advantages of his employer’s son Ashok. Life is good in Delhi under the generous and kind Ashok until Ashok’s American wife, during a drunken evening out, decides she wishes to have a bit of fun driving and accidently runs over a child. Balram cleans up the resulting mess and in keeping with the philosophy of loyal Indian servants, says not a word to officials. Ashok’s family however, makes Balram’s grandmother and Balram, sign a legal document stating he is to blame for the accident and the corrupt Indian legal system hushes it up. This festers in Balram’s mind, and in a moment of opportunity, when Ashok is carrying a bag of money to bribe a government official, Balram murders Ashok, and absconds with the money and the car. Balram uses the money to set up a taxi business for a call centre in Bangalore. As a lover of history, I knew much of India’s political history but little of its social history since independence, so this book was an eye opener into the insidious corruption at all levels of government and in the legal system. I knew “make Ghandi smile twice” is common for small matters but the bribery in this book is unbelievable and immoral.
( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
I've always thought I like to go to India for a holiday, but after reading this, I'm not so sure! It's a fascinating look at what makes India tick, narrated by an amoral murderer and thief who has become a successful businessman because he is what he is. His observation about what he might have to do to his nephew when he gets a bit older is especially chilling.
Adiga's perceptive eye turns to the underbelly of Indian society: the inequities of the rich and the poor, politics, corruption, the light and the dark.
I thoroughly enjoyed it. ( )
  mmacd3814 | May 30, 2016 |
The White Tiger tells a story of India's poor. The narrator is an entrepreneur, a self made man. He is writing a journal to the premier of China. The two countries that he feels are rising economic forces are India and China. The white man is on his way out. It also is the story of man who evolves from a good person to a man that can turn his back on his family and even to murdering his boss and feel justified in his choices. ( )
  Kristelh | May 23, 2016 |
I liked this well enough. It was intelligent, well-plotted, engaging. There was a bleak humour to it. I appreciated the simmering anger and cynicism of the main character, but I didn't like him, and so I couldn't fully sympathise with him. He was no better in the end than the people he claimed to despise. I suppose it's a cautionary tale about how corruption pays dividends when the system within which you live is built on corruption. ( )
  missizicks | May 17, 2016 |
Aaaah! Great book! Energetic. He escaped by playing their rules but on their turf. ( )
  TheBookJunky | Apr 22, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 317 (next | show all)
It's a thrilling ride through a rising global power; a place where, we learn, the brutality of the modern city is compounded by that of age-old tradition. "In the old days there were one thousand castes and destinies in India," says Balram. "These days there are two castes: Men with Big Bellies, and Men with Small Bellies."
added by mikeg2 | editThe Independent, David Mattin (May 11, 2008)
 

» Add other authors (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Aravind Adigaprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lee, JohnNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rey, Santiago delTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Ramin Bahrani
First words
Mr. Premier, Sir. Neither you nor I speak English, but there are some things that can be said only in English.
Quotations
“The jails of Delhi are full of drivers who are there behind bars because they are taking the blame for their good, solid middle-class masters. We have left the villages but the masters still own us, bodies, souls, and arse. Yes, that’s right: we all live in one of the world’s greatest democracies. What a fucking joke.”
A rich man's body is like a premium cotton pillow, white and soft and blank. Ours are different. My father's spine was a knotted rope, the kind that women use in villages to pull water from wells; the clavicle curved around his neck in high relief, like a dog's collar; cuts and nicks and scars, like little whip marks in his flesh, ran down his chest and waist, reaching down below his hip bones into his buttocks. The story of a poor man's life is written on his body, in sharp pen.
The book of your revolution sits in the pit of your belly, young Indian. Crap it out, and read
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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.
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Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life--having nothing but his own wits to help him along.… (more)

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