The White Tiger

“The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga (India)

Review

From the opening pages of the book, readers were drawn into the tale Balram is telling to the Chinese Premier by the humour and irony he uses. It had them laughing from the start. Although not all the readers warmed to Balram, most found him a compelling character. They felt the narrative was well structured, as his story moves from childhood and the death of his mother, to being taken out of school and sent to work in a teashop, to becoming a driver and ending up in Delhi where the desire to escape the Rooster Coop leads him to murder. They liked some of the secondary characters, such as Vitiligo Lips and Pinky Madam, who although somewhat clichéd they felt added to the humour. The many scenes of Balram’s journey from the Darkness were really well described, using small details (the red bag, the whisky bottle) that readers found brought them vividly to life. They appreciated the portrayal of corruption in Indian society and some readers could understand, without condoning it, the violent act Balram committed as the only means to escape from his circumstances. The book averaged an 8.5 out of 10.

Synopsis

Balram Halwai, the White Tiger, was born in a backwater village on the River Ganges, the son of a rickshaw-puller. He works in a teashop, crushing coal and wiping tables, but nurses a dream of escape. When he learns that Mr Ashok, the son of a rich village landlord needs a driver, he takes his opportunity, and is soon on his way to Delhi… Read more

Season 10 – “First Novels” (Sep 2009 – Jan 2010)

“The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga (India) *
“The Blood of Flowers” by Anita Amirrezvani (Iran)
“Lost City Radio” by Daniel Alarcon (Peru)
“Nervous Conditions” by Tsitsi Dangarembga (Zimbabwe) *
“Invisible Man” by Ralph Ellison (U.S.)

Extra book:
“The Vagrants” by Yiyun Li (China)

* The book club favourites
In italics, Nicola’s Coup de Cœur

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