Sunday, September 28, 2008
The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
A debut writer. A nominee for the Booker prize.The book takes a very simple plot and weaves into it, the complexities that surround modern India.
India is credited with having the economic boom of the century but little does the outside world realize that this economic surge hasn't reached out to the larger part of India's population. The rigid structures of society still prevail. Caste is part of breakfast, communalism is part of lunch and the idea of living as segregated communities is served over dinner.
The white tiger builds upon these structures. The story starts off as a letter that Balram writes to the Chinese supremo. His narrative is supposed to be the voice of the real India. The India that the prime minister would showcase is the icing on a rotten cake.
The white tiger is a story of Balram, currently a rich enterpreuner who hails from an underprivileged caste and an economically backward part of India. His ability to be a cut above the rest of the folks in his village earns him the title of the white tiger. The vision of his endangered self looms uneasily over his every action as he tries to break free from the chains rooted to the social structure of the country.
Aravind Adiga's use of dark comedy couldn't be more ideal. There are no heroes in this book. No good or bad, ethical or unethical. There is only the force of circumstance.
Its a pretty short book and it has enough elements in it to keep you glued at least until the first half. It flounders for a little while before picking up pace and ending in a very O. Henryish fashion.