One of those books that you pick up to see what the hype is all about that this book won the 2008 Booker prize. I picked up “The White Tiger” by Aravind Adiga purely due to that reason. I am not disappointed but at the same time find it little difficult to understand why this book could be considered outstanding to win the prize. The book is supposedly about realistic contemporary depiction of India that ends up suggesting everything is wrong, every rich person is bad, every politician is a crook and every poor person is exploited. I am sure a lot of it is true as well but I really do not believe that everything is bad.
The story is of a driver from a small village who comes to Delhi with his master and how he slowly gets corrupted and ends up murdering his master for money and becomes an entrepreneur in Bangalore. The narrative is from the driver Balram “The White Tiger” point of view who is writing letters to visiting Chinese Premier and telling him his story. I could not understand what was the connection but that is how the author has decided to frame his narration of the story.
There are some interesting pieces that caught my attention. Balram’s fascination for golden-haired white woman after he sees that his master has gone to “dip his beak” into one of them. The allusion to sex using phrase “dipping his beak” was amazing and something new. It was really ironic when he finally manages to collect enough money to get a golden-haired girl and ends up finding that she is Indian girl with all coloured hair. There are lots of other contemporary stories that find their way into Balram’s life like coal mining scam, hit and run case where masters get away and drivers are made to take the blame, accidents by call centre cabs, corruption from small time teachers to high-ranking ministers and many more.
Overall, the good part was that it is easy to read book with fast pace and simple narration.