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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
6,564313578 (3.78)584
  1. 112
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  3. 51
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  4. 30
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  5. 20
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    Nickelini: Both novels look at the dire side of life in India, and both are very well written.
  6. 20
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» See also 584 mentions

English (288)  Dutch (7)  Spanish (3)  French (3)  German (3)  Portuguese (1)  Danish (1)  Norwegian (1)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  Hebrew (1)  Italian (1)  Lithuanian (1)  All languages (312)
Showing 1-5 of 288 (next | show all)
Balram is a poor youth in the Darkness of India who manages to become an Entrepreneur and join the rich sector of the country. Oh, yes, there was a murder involved and it may have lead to other deaths and beatings, but, no matter. As the character points out, the caste system has been reduced to just two: those with fat bellies and those with thin ones. Very quick and "enjoyable" read. ( )
  addunn3 | Mar 11, 2015 |
Not a book I would normally read but I am so glad I did.
This is the story of Balram Halwai a young poor man from the Indian countryside who gets a job as a chauffer driving a rich man called Ashok and his wife Pinky Madam around Delhi.
This is a story of the underbelly of India with all its corruption, poverty, bribes, general unfairness.
With several characters thrown into this story

Balram has to take the fall for something he didn't do and this is when he slowly loses all respect for Ashok.
He then conceives a plan to get revenge. Very good book this. ( )
1 vote Daftboy1 | Feb 10, 2015 |
This audiobook was excellently done. Until I checked the narrator's name I was convinced he was from India but, in fact, John Lee is English. The format worked very well as an audiobook as it is supposed to be a continuing letter from the main character to the Premier of China done over seven consecutive nights. I was not so enamoured with the content of the book as it paints the main character as immoral and selfish.

Balram Halwai is a member of one of the lower castes and, as such, his fate was to be a servant or labourer. He was a smart child but had to leave school to work to earn money for a sister's dowry. After working as a servant in a tea shop he decides to learn to drive. He succeeds in becoming a driver for Ashok, the son of a landlord in Balram's home village. Ashok had gone to school in the USA and married an American woman, Pinky (who Balram calls Pinky Madam). Pinky is increasingly unhappy in India and wants to return to the United States. Ashok's family needs someone to live in New Delhi to bribe officials there so Ashok, Pinky and Balram move to New Delhi. While Balram is paid well and treated quite well (by Indian standards) he hates being in servitude and he comes up with a plan to steal the money Ashok carries around in the car. This plan includes murdering Ashok which he does without compunction and then flees to Bangalore.

I can understand the author's motivations in writing this book. He wanted to show the problems with India's caste system and the rampant corruption. That is certainly apparent. I just wish Balram could have been more likeable. ( )
  gypsysmom | Dec 31, 2014 |
The White Tiger felt like a modern, Indian version of Crime and Punishment. It follows the psychological development of a poor village driver who rises to power in India's modern jungle of technology start-ups, corrupt politicians, and masters and slaves.

Notable quotes:
"It's true that all these gods seem to do awfully little work—much like our politicians—and yet keep winning reelection to their golden thrones in heaven, year after year"

"Now that the date for the elections had been set, and declared on radio, election fever had started spreading again … [Election fever] is the worst [disease]; it makes people talk and talk about things that they have no say in."

"Haven't I succeeded in the struggle that every poor man here should be making—the struggle not to take the lashes your father took, not to end up in a mound of indistinguishable bodies that will rot in the black mud of Mother Ganga? True, there was the matter of murder—which is a wrong thing to do, no question about it. It has darkened my soul. All the skin-whitening creams sold in the market of India won't clean my hands again. But isn't it likely that everyone who counts in this world … has killed someone or other or other on their way to the top? Kill enough people and they will put up bronze statues to you near Parliament House in Delhi—but that is glory, and not what I am after. All I wanted was the chance to be a man—and for that, one murder was enough." ( )
  gvenezia | Dec 26, 2014 |
The rise of a poor rural Indian through modern urban India -- a cutthroat, almost American tale of winner takes all. Very good book club choice. One pet peeve: author compares his work to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man in postscript at end -- I disagree, racism in America a unique evil. Last thought: liked Thirty Umrigar's The Space Between Us more -- also read as part of book club, also set in India, also from a servant's point of view (a woman's P.O.V.), deeper characters, more complexity. But then, who won the big Booker Prize? (Aravind Adiga). Sorry feeling very feminist today. ( )
  cabockwrites | Jul 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 288 (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
Last words
(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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