The White Tiger

  • by Aravind Adiga
  • Narrated by John Lee
  • 8 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

British Book Awards, Author of the Year, 2009.
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.


What the Critics Say

"Balram's evolution from likable village boy to cold-blooded killer is fascinating and believable." (Library Journal)
"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)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Mark P. Furlong "Crookshank"

Peculiar rather than entertaining; quirky.

Call me a Westerner; I don't mind. I like a book that has interesting characters and an interesting plot. I know that this author has won awards for this book, and I know that the Man Booker Prize is highly esteemed. However, I think it is a British/Continental award primarily, and the differences between those audiences and Western audiences is great. The book wanders in a completely directionless way through the life of the main character, who we are assured becomes an "entrepreneur" in Bangalore. However, the way in which he does this is inexplicable as far as I am concerned. Again, this may be part of a large East/West dichotomy of which I am ignorant. I trust that most Audible readers are Westerners who would like books they read to be accessible rather than plotless and confusing. One thing I can say that is clearly positive: John Lee's voice is by itself one of the most entertaining things I have ever listened to. If he were telling a story than made more sense, I would find a great deal more enjoyment in the endeavor of listening. The poverty of Indians is described in revolting detail. The trials that these people have to go through just to find a way to make a living for themselves and their families: these are horrendous journeys which would bring most of us Westerners to our knees. However, these struggles do not a novel make. At numerous points this book feels much more like reporting than the work of a fiction writer. All right all ready, I am convinced of the horrifying, degrading poverty above which the lowest caste Indians can barely rise. I understand that the waters of the Ganges River are so disgusting and polluted that you dare not go anywhere near the river lest you become ill with an indescribably vicious wasting disease. I know that the ravenous corruption that runs through the government/bureaucracy that is the structure of the country is impenetrable: I really don't need to hear that much more about it. On the whole, however, I would vastly recommend Shantaram over this book. I found it immediately interesting, full of characters that grabbed me and plots that took me happily careening from one state of India to the next. My interest in Shantaram almost never failed, and that is saying a good deal, as I usually have trouble approaching four-volume tomes. Take my advice here, though. As a average American, I found Shantaram to be wildly entertaining and informative when compared to White Tiger. I cannot recommend White Tiger to anyone but the most sophisticated student of the subcontinent, a person who delights in being entertained by something which I find to be rather less than a novel, and more like an expansive, reportorial description of the daily life of the lower castes in India.
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- Richard Delman "I am a 67 year old psychologist. I have been married for 28 years, with two sons who are 27 and 24. I love listening to the books."

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-28-2008
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio