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The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger by Aravind AdigaI never quite got around to reading Aravind Adiga’s — The White Tiger — when it was first published, but I suppose with the wide acclaim it received, along with the fact that it collected the 2008 Man Booker Prize, it was only a matter of time before I felt I had to. In the end, I picked up a copy whilst waiting for the publication of his latest novel — Last Man in Tower — which has now been released, and is another book I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing in the not too distant future.

Read on for a full review…

-- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga a Review by Des Greene --

Aravind Adiga’s tale of one man’s struggle to escape the clutches of poverty and repression, is presented in the form of a letter, written to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao. The naivety and presumption of writing such a letter, and also the often over-familiar way in which it is written, are the key to the charm and humour of this novel, and go some way towards setting it apart from some of the many other works by Indian authors which often adopt similar underlying themes.

Mr. Jiabao is shortly to visit Bangalore on a mission to find out the truth about India’s growing prosperity; on hearing this, the book’s protagonist, Balram Halwai, is keen to set things straight with the Premier, and sets about writing his letter, which offers advice on a broad scale, covering, amongst other things, poverty, corruption, entrepreneurship, and even some interesting and original thoughts on theology. Underlying all the gentle humour, is an often harrowing story of how the poor are kept in their place, and what personal sacrifices must be undergone by any individual who might have the temerity to want to escape their allotted situation in the basement of society.

At 336 pages, this is not an overly long read, and with its easy, conversational style, and fast paced and action filled plot, was very difficult to put down. Certainly, it was all too soon finished; one of those books you perhaps wish could have gone on longer. I admit to being a big fan of Asian literature – Rohinton Mistry being one of may all-time favourite authors – and if The White Tiger is anything to go by, then I’m happy to add Aravind Adiga to my list of writers to check out more of.

Highly recommended.

Already read The White Tiger? What did you think of it? Please post a comment below, Novel Suggestions is always keen to hear your opinions.

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