For our June discussion, I have selected the novel “The White Tiger,” by Aravind Adiga. Published in 2008, this first novel won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction for that year.
There is so much to surprise the reader in this modern look at India that to read a synopsis of the novel would truly ruin many of the plot surprises hidden therein. However, the first two paragraphs of this New York Times Book Review article by Akash Kapur swiftly sums up some of what the novel is about:
The Secret of His Success
By AKASH KAPUR
“Balram Halwai, the narrator of Aravind Adiga’s first novel, “The White Tiger,” is a modern Indian hero. In a country inebriated by its newfound economic prowess, he is a successful entrepreneur, a self-made man who has risen on the back of India’s much-vaunted technology industry. In a nation proudly shedding a history of poverty and underdevelopment, he represents, as he himself says, “tomorrow.”
Balram’s triumphal narrative, framed somewhat inexplicably as a letter to the visiting Chinese premier, unfurls over seven days and nights in Bangalore. It’s a rather more complicated story than Balram initially lets on….”
As you read this imaginative novel, try to “hear” Balram’s voice in his Hindu/British accent.
There is much humor, and pathos, in this gruesome, contemporary tale.