The White Tiger- Aravind Adiga

This was a great, darkly humorous book a friend recommended to me stating that it was her favourite book of 2012. I can definitely see why.

In this novel we find Balram Halwai, a sweetmaker from a small Indian village. He is from a low caste and finds a job working as a servant/driver to a rich Indian man. Halwai eventually escapes from his caste in a very unconventional way; by killing his boss. He then narrates his actions to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, whom he admires greatly.

This book is a satire, the narrator is hilarious at times. Underneath the satirical element is the fact that India has social issues. Adiga contrasts the “New India” with the “Old India”, which he calls “the Darkness.” He paints the Darkness as very gross and desperate, poverty-stricken, illiterate and superstitious. The new India isn’t free from criticism either; it is labelled as being rife with corruption. I guess the point Adiga is trying to make is that despite the fact that India has reaped a lot of economic successes from globalization, not everyone is benefitting from it.

Perhaps some people may think Adiga was too harsh with his portrayal of India. However, I believe Adiga is giving a voice to the voiceless; the poor in India, those living in the Darkness, those people who are illiterate, suffering from leprosy etc., and it is important not to sweep societal problems under the rug.

All in all a very enjoyable book

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