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The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga

May 7, 2009

white-tiger This novel is about Balram, a young man growing up in Bangalore, India, in an impoverished family; his dad is a rickshaw puller. Adiga follows Balram’s life story as he moves his way up in the social world, first becoming a driver for a rich family, and then, through a series of events I cannot reveal, creates his own taxi empire and becomes—in his own eyes a least—one of India’s greatest but least well known entrepreneurs.

I noticed how Adiga makes this book both a novel, and, at the same time, the memoir of a fictional character. Balram relates his life story in letters to the Chinese prime minister, which I found different, as an approach to fiction, but still enjoyable.

Adiga’s visuals, details, and other descriptions are fantastic. Every time I picked up the book, the movie of Balram’s life started playing for me, and it never stopped. The dialogue is also effective; it conveys a lot of the plot and also reveals relationships between characters. For example, Balram is a servant, and the dialogue between him and his “master” truly shows who they are.

The strength of the thoughts and feelings in this novel is amazing. Most of the plot is revealed in flashbacks, so the way Aravind Adiga pulls it together is amazing. The plot structure is unlike that of any other novel I have read. The White Tiger is most definitely a 10 out of ten.


Publisher: Free Press, 276 pages

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