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Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2008.
No saris. No scents. No spices. No music. No lyricism. No illusions.
This is India now.
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 us 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. Born in a village in the dark heart of India, Balram gets a break when he is hired as a driver for a wealthy man, two Pomeranians (Puddles and Cuddles), and the rich man's (very unlucky) son.
Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.
With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem - but decency can still be found in a corrupt world, and you can get what you want out of life if you eavesdrop on the right conversations.
"A brutal view of India's class struggles is cunningly presented in Adiga's debut....It's the perfect antidote to lyrical India." ( Publishers Weekly)
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Barry Feinstein on 05-19-09
Great, informative tale
Excellent story and narration. Gripping story of the life of the other side of India. Keeps your attention and reveals a great tale of the interaction between rich and poor and the failures of the government. If you liked the
"Kite Runner" you'll love this book as well.
24 of 24 people found this review helpful
By Mark P. Furlong on 05-29-08
Entertaining, thought-provoking, darkly funny
I highly recommend this audio book. I could have listened to all 8 hours in one sitting but wanted to savor it and so spread it out over a week. The story never dragged. The performance by the reader is first-rate, I could almost picture the characters through their voices. The audio book format works particularly well for this book because the story is structured as a narrated letter. I will be recommending this book for my book group because there will be a lot talk about. It may not be for everyone. It deals with themes of poverty, class, corruption, oppression and murder. However, for me, The White Tiger is one of the best, if not the best, audio book I have listened to.
67 of 69 people found this review helpful