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'As angry, smart and dark as Parasite.' Standard
'The anti-Slumdog Millionaire' Hollywood Reporter
Here's a strange fact: murder a man, and you feel responsible for his life - possessive, even. You know more about him than his father and mother; they knew his foetus, but you know his corpse.
Meet Balram Halwai, the 'White Tiger': servant, philosopher, entrepreneur... murderer. Balram was born in a backwater village on the River Ganges, the son of a rickshaw-puller. He works in a teashop, crushing coal and wiping tables, but nurses a dream of escape. When he learns that a rich village landlord needs a chauffeur, he takes his opportunity, and is soon on his way to Delhi at the wheel of a Honda. Amid cockroaches, call-centres, thirty-six-million gods, slums, shopping malls, and crippling traffic jams, Balram comes to see how the Tiger might slip the bars of his cage.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
The White Tiger offers a biting critique of modern India from an irreverent and truly original voice. 2008’s Man Booker Prize winner is constructed of a series of letters penned by charismatic antihero Balram Halwai: a shameless bigot, wanted felon and self-described entrepreneur. With a combination of innocent wonder and caustic wit, Halwai relates his demoralising upbringing in rural India and his experiences as a servant, culminating in the violent murder of his employer. Author Aravind Adiga employs hilarity to examine the contradictions of his homeland, revealing the formidable constraints of India’s caste system and the broadening reach of economic globalisation.
A brutal view of India's class struggles is cunningly presented in Adiga's debut about a racist, homicidal chauffer. Balram Halwai is from the "Darkness," born where India's downtrodden and unlucky are destined to rot. Balram manages to escape his village and move to Delhi after being hired as a driver for a rich landlord. Telling his story in retrospect, the novel is a piecemeal correspondence from Balram to the premier of China, who is expected to visit India and whom Balram believes could learn a lesson or two about India's entrepreneurial underbelly. Adiga's existential and crude prose animates the battle between India's wealthy and poor as Balram suffers degrading treatment at the hands of his employers (or, more appropriately, masters). His personal fortunes and luck improve dramatically after he kills his boss and decamps for Bangalore. Balram is a clever and resourceful narrator with a witty and sarcastic edge that endears him to readers, even as he rails about corruption, allows himself to be defiled by his bosses, spews coarse invective and eventually profits from moral ambiguity and outright criminality. It's the perfect antidote to lyrical India.