By: Aravind Adiga
Inner back cover: Meet Balram Halwai,
the “White Tiger”: servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells his story…
Born in a village in the dark heart of India, the son of a rickshaw puller, Balram is taken out of school by his family and put to work in a teashop. As he crushes coal and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape – of breaking away from the banks of Mother Ganga, into whose murky depths have seeped remains of a hundred generations.
His big chance comes when a rich village landlord hires him as a chauffeur for his son, daughter-in-law, and their two Pomeranian dogs. From behind the wheel of a Honda, Balram first sees Delhi. The city is a revelation. Amid the cockroaches and call-centres, the 36,000,004 gods, the slums, the shopping malls and the crippling traffic jams, Balram’s re-education begins. Caught between his instinct to be a loyal son and servant, and his desire to better himself, he learns a new morality at the heart of a new India. As the other servants flick through the pages of Murder Weekly, Balram begins to see how the Tiger might escape his cage. For Surely any successful man must spill a little blood on his way to the top?
The White Tiger is a tale of two Indias. Balram’s journey from the darkness of village life to the light of entrepreneurial success is utterly amoral, brilliantly irreverent, deeply endearing and altogether unforgettable.
Very good book. It was really interesting to kind of learn about India and how things are there from someone who comes from the “darkness”. I wonder if India really is like that, and to be honest I wouldn’t be surprised if it is, which is really sad when you think about it. The book has made me want to see India with my own eyes even more, but it has also made me less willing to go on the roads there. I might have to rethink my plans of going on a bus-tour of India…
I like how the book is written in letter-form from Balram to the Premier of China, but I wish it would have said something about how the Premier reacted to Balram’s life story.
Balram has led a very interesting life. He does everything he can to get what he wants and to get higher up in life. I really enjoyed reading about how his family was and how he looked at the rich people and what he felt he needed to be happy in life.
The book is sad, funny and very interesting. It’s probably a bit too “dark” for children, but I think everybody else should read this book.