Tuesday, January 27, 2009

White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (11/81)

Category: Themed Title – Animals

This is the most recent Booker Prize winner, and I’m afraid to say it hasn’t done anything to redeem the prize in my eyes after the dreadful The Gathering which won the previous year. It is not so much that it is a bad book, it just isn’t a great book and it makes me wonder that the competition was like if this was the book that won.

The book is narrated by Balram Halwai in the form of a series of emails to the leader of China who is due to make a visit to India. Within these messages, he describes the new economy of India and his raise from a lowly driver to a successful businessman. The name the White Tiger refers to him being a rare creature that comes along only once or twice in each generation.

The book is full of sly observations about the economy built on outsourcing, the Caste system and the differences between urban and rural life. At times it threatened to be interesting or exciting but then it just fizzled away again. I also had the impression that the author was writing specifically for Western audiences in this portrayal of various Indian types.

Overall, rather a disappointing read.

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