Monday, February 23, 2009

Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger

Here is a review of the book The White Tiger that I wrote for my blog Shades of Writing.

The book is written in the format of a series of letters written by an Indian entrepreneur Balram to His Excellency Wen Jiabao (Chinese premier) in a seven day period after Balram hears on the radio that Wen Jiabao is visiting Bangalore to a) find out the truth about Bangalore and b) to meet Indian entrepreneurs and hear their stories, so that he might learn how to make Chinese entrepreneurs. Balram tells Wen Jiabao the story of his success, and it is a story that chills the blood.

Now I find that by the end of a book written in the first person that I am heartily sick of being, as it were, stuck in one person's mind, and that was particularly true here as the Balram was someone who I did not much like; he was too much of a cynic, too pessimistic, too cold blooded. Actually there wasn't really anyone in the book that I liked. Mr Ashok and Pinky Madam were the only two people in the book not greedy and arrogant, but Mr Ashok was pathetic in his attempts to be modern, and Pinky Madam too spiky. Despite this, the story kept me enthralled.

I never like to take as fact anything in a novel, as authors of novels have carte blanche to create from their imagination anything they wish to embellish their tale with, so I cannot comment on India, as described in the book.

I do not think this is such a brilliant book, especially when compared to A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, a book about people similarly trapped by circumstance, but which showed us humanity flourishing amongst the most terrible of situations, something I would much rather believe in.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think that commenting on oyur own post is quite the done thing to do really, but this seems the best place to make this point. I have just clicked on the Label for The White Tiger and read all 6 other reviews. What a brilliantly easy way of seening what other people thought of the book!

    Thank you!