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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
6,661317564 (3.79)595
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» See also 595 mentions

English (293)  Dutch (6)  German (3)  French (3)  Spanish (3)  Catalan (2)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  Lithuanian (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (317)
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Balram Halwai comes from “The Darkness”, a rural and impoverished area of India. Through an interesting series of circumstances he finds himself working in Delhi as the driver for a rich landlord. As the years go by Balram learns much through his experiences and is always a keen observer of life around him, so that by the end of the book he has established himself as a successful entrepreneur. Learning of an impending visit to India by the Chinese Premier, Balram is compelled to write him a series of letters informing him (forewarning him?) of what he might expect during his visit.

This book was nothing short of amazing. Not the first book (nor the last, no doubt) to tackle the topic of social inequality but Balram’s voice is fresh and honest, with the ability to be humorous and dark, sarcastic and heartwarming. Although he is telling us his life story the reader cannot help but feel that even he is astounded as his life unfolds. Admittedly this book will not be to everyone’s taste, but if you don’t give it a chance you will be missing out on some excellent story-telling and some bright insights to life (I wanted to take notes). Well deserving of its Man-Booker Prize nomination.
( )
  ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
This book was hugely entertaining. It paints a really rich picture of life in India, the struggle of the poor, the caste system and much more. However, at no point did this book feel like a study of Indian society- I found the narrator of the story absolutely hilarious. I was not expecting this book to be so funny. ( )
  martensgirl | Jun 17, 2015 |
This is a book that is seemingly a simple story, but is much much deeper. Here we have Balram - the story starts out with him as a boy in "dark" India, where the poorest people live. As Balram grows up, he learns about the world, learning to drive, moving to the big city, taking advantage of everyone around him.

Balram isn't a likeable character. He admits at the very beginning he is a murderer - but as he tells his story, it is in shades of gray. This is a story of family obligations, both poor and rich, of class, of education, ultimately, people are people. It has levels of morality - and the book does not moralize. At the end, its up to the reader to question right and wrong. ( )
  TheDivineOomba | Jun 14, 2015 |
Really liked they way this book started off. It's a nice read on probably the `real' India. The last few chapters it went a bit boring however and I could actually start to predict what would happen next (even though I'm really bad at that normally :-)).

Anyway, after all it's a very nice book if you want to get to know more about India, the way it is and not the way it gets portrayed to you. ( )
  bbbart | May 30, 2015 |
Great, easy read. I wouldn't read it as a factual telling of India anymore than the Godfather tells the average American's story. But it gives you some idea and is a very good story. Maybe 8-10 hours total reading, tops. ( )
  Hae-Yu | Apr 25, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 293 (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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Wikipedia in English (3)

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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