Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger (2008)

by Aravind Adiga

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6,775325545 (3.79)611
  1. 112
    Q & A by Vikas Swarup (VaterOlsen, 2810michael)
  2. 73
    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (jtho)
    jtho: Another great story set in India that shows us both the seedy sides and the beauty.
  3. 51
    The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: I happened to be reading this YA title simultaneously, and was surprised/pleased to find that the two books went together quite well. Similarly charismatic narrator and several of the same themes.
  4. 30
    The Bonfire of the Vanities by Tom Wolfe (Cecilturtle)
  5. 20
    A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both novels look at the dire side of life in India, and both are very well written.
  6. 20
    Reef by Romesh Gunesekera (SqueakyChu, chrisharpe)
    SqueakyChu: Another book, this one much quieter, about a man's desire to move up in society.
  7. 10
    A Good Man in Africa by William Boyd (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Amusing Rogue protagonists
  8. 21
    The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid (wonderlake)
    wonderlake: First-person narratives of growing disenchantment
  9. 10
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (chrisharpe)
  10. 21
    Native Son by Richard Wright (Miss-Owl)
  11. 00
    The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri (BookshelfMonstrosity)
    BookshelfMonstrosity: These evocative novels discuss the social inequities and corruption endemic to modern India. Their complex characters and strong sense of place provide thought-provoking ways to understand the current state of the subcontinent, even as they tell about individual lives.… (more)
  12. 11
    A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Delusional/Enlightened Outcast protagonists
  13. 00
    Little Big Man by Thomas Berger (mcenroeucsb)
    mcenroeucsb: Books with Amusing Rogue protagonists
  14. 00
    The African Safari Papers by Robert Sedlack (mcenroeucsb)
  15. 00
    The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar (mcenroeucsb)
  16. 11
    A Case of Exploding Mangoes by Mohammed Hanif (Anonymous user)
  17. 00
    Last Man in Tower by Aravind Adiga (bookmomo)
    bookmomo: Modern India in a nutshell. Adiga is an accomplished writer.
  18. 11
    Chef: A Novel by Jaspreet Singh (Clara53)
  19. 00
    The Taker And Other Stories by Rubem Fonseca (gonzobrarian)
  20. 44
    Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (infiniteletters)

(see all 25 recommendations)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 611 mentions

English (301)  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 (325)
Showing 1-5 of 301 (next | show all)
You will laugh out loud more than once while reading this sardonic epistolary novel about contemporary India. The White Tiger is our main character and the letter writer who is writing a series of letters to the Chinese Premier on the occasion of a Chinese trade visit. He endeavors to explain the new economy and Indian entrepreneurialism with insouciant glee.

It's his Horatio Alger story - but far different from any such story in America, as hard work is not rewarded. Corruption rules the economy in many ways and it's fitting, then, that his path to success took a detour into criminality. In essence, it's the main character's how to win friends and influence people - through corruption.

This book has angered many in India for its unflattering picture of a country run by corruption and dependent on servitude. This makes it sound political and the corruption and poverty could make it sound grim, but it's not. There is such wit and humor and the main character has so much joy in life that the book is fun to read - and fascinating as well. ( )
  Tonstant.Weader | Nov 22, 2015 |
Hoo boy ... this is a fascinating and terrifying look at exploitation. The rich exploiting the poor, the poor exploiting the poor, exploitation of children, women, family, the environment. Everyone is looking for an angle and anyone who isn't quick on the uptake is mowed down (sometimes literally). This is life in the darkness. You can take the kid out of the darkness but you can never get the darkness out of the kid. Having recently read William Dalrymple's "City of Djinns", which is a nonfiction account of the life and times of the city of Delhi circa early 80's, the contrast is stark. Where his Delhi and environs is relatively benign, Adiga's Delhi of the millennium is a malignant cancer growing exponentially and consuming the souls, conscience, humanity, and morals of the rich and poor alike. It's a train wreck and I couldn't look away. This story hums right along without judgment and leaves you reeling and questioning. A frequent refrain in the story is "What a fucking joke." Doesn't apply to the book, but it sure does fit in the story. ( )
  libbromus | Oct 29, 2015 |
Utterly savage tale, bitterly funny and utterly horrifying. A portrait of India corrupt and superstitious and stricken with poverty while oceans of money pour in through American outsourcing and Chinese investment. The filth and the squalour permeates every level, from the backward village where our anti-hero is born to the glamorous suites of the wealthy where he labours as a servant and finally breaks free in a deliberate act of violence. Fast-paced, sharply written with a precision of language and a cheerfulness of tone that belies the ugliness of the mess it depicts. It's essentially a crime novel: Jim Thompson or Donald E Westlake might have written something vaguely along these lines. It's superbly written, though I don't suppose that in itself would be enough to catch the eye of Booker judges. I suppose the social portrait of class and servitude set against the backdrop of high-tech capitalism in a teeming post-colonial setting attracted the attention, and it's hard to argue with that. The philosophical digressions probably didn't hurt either. Anyway, cracking, terrifying, angering read. Post-colonial, post-boom Ireland don't have it nearly so bad as some. ( )
1 vote Nigel_Quinlan | Oct 21, 2015 |
The Chinese Premier is planning a visit to India to investigate how entrepreneurship works there. In a series of letters, Balram Halwai, a poor man from "The Darkness" describes the system. Perpetual servitude is the rule in India, where millions of impoverished people of "The Darkness" are trapped. The analogy of the white tiger at the zoo demonstrates that imprisonment. Balram takes matters into his own hands eventually creating his own "startup". Is socialism on the way? Has entrepreneurship succeeded? Or has Balram just joined the bosses. This excellent novel, winner of the Booker prize in 2008, is by turns ribald, funny and yet ultimately disheartening. The reader cheers for the amenable Balram but there is no way out. ( )
  VivienneR | Sep 30, 2015 |
Took me just a day to finish the book. Prime reason : I skipped many pages. The writer is literally swearing at India, My country in every single page. I accept we aren't perfect. But I feel the writer has gone overboard. Especially with that Boozing and sleeping in class part. I really regret picking this book up and reading. ( )
  bookandink | Aug 19, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 301 (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
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
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.
“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
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

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.
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

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)

» see all 13 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
25 avail.
303 wanted
6 pay12 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.79)
0.5 5
1 36
1.5 8
2 97
2.5 42
3 462
3.5 205
4 910
4.5 144
5 400


3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Tantor Media

An edition of this book was published by Tantor Media.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,961,121 books! | Top bar: Always visible