Wednesday, 3 March 2010

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

This book is about life in India. We read it for the book club I'm in at the public library. One thing I like about book clubs is they force me to read books that I might not otherwise read - and this is definitely one of those books.

The story kind of rambles. It's a story of a poor man who leaves his family and goes to the city to work as a driver. He's an entrepeneur, and honorable man, and a murderer. Quite a mix!

A lot of the story left me with a wrinkled forehead and curled up nose. Life in India is so different than here. Often he'd talk about things like they were funny, and I found myself not quite getting the humor and actually being more horrified than entertained.
This book was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. I don't get those awards. This book seemed to me to ramble and ramble and ramble. That's great writing?? I suppose he captured life in India in a way that most people have not - but, gee, he sure could ramble.
Would I recommend the book? Well, not really. I wouldn't have never kept reading it actually, if it wasn't for the book club. But I'm glad I read it...if that makes any sense.
Here's a review from The New Yorker that I read on Amazon:
In this darkly comic début novel set in India, Balram, a chauffeur, murders
his employer, justifying his crime as the act of a "social entrepreneur." In a
series of letters to the Premier of China, in anticipation of the leader’s
upcoming visit to Balram’s homeland, the chauffeur recounts his transformation
from an honest, hardworking boy growing up in "the Darkness"—those areas of
rural India where education and electricity are equally scarce, and where
villagers banter about local elections "like eunuchs discussing the Kama
Sutra"—to a determined killer. He places the blame for his rage squarely on the
avarice of the Indian élite, among whom bribes are commonplace, and who
perpetuate a system in which many are sacrificed to the whims of a few. Adiga’s
message isn’t subtle or novel, but Balram’s appealingly sardonic voice and acute
observations of the social order are both winning and unsettling. Copyright

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