Aravind Adiga – The White Tiger

As I stated in my first post, that once in a while, in order to break the routine I will read a book which isn’t on the list and here’s the first one. Really I’m reading this because I’m part of a book club and this is the novel we are going to discuss.

At it’s very core ‘The White Tiger’ is a political novel, not dissimilar to Orwell’s Animal Farm, in the sense that the hero of the story, Belram does manage to arise from his caste through breaking free but then (more or less) falls into the same circle of corruption as his masters. It’s a rags to riches tale in this respect as well then.

Belram is nicknamed The White Tiger by his teacher as he is a very rare specimen. Intelligent and quick thinking he outdoes all his peers, that his until he is a victim of Indian politics and has to work in a tea shop. This happens all throughout the book. Belram is constantly a target of the Indian social scheme. Whether he is learning driving lessons, a driver for a rich man or even visiting a prostitute he tends to get the short end of the stick, as many Indians do (he cleverly compares this situation to a rooster’s coop)

One day, in a fit of anger Belram kills his master (we are told this in the beginning of the book) and indeed a new life of corruption is in his hands. The circle is complete.

On the whole I did enjoy reading this book, Adiga has a gift for using humor in a very subtle manner and yet his sense of irony hits very hard. I do not know if Indian politics are like this but he does present a very real situation.  It is a very zippy read due to Adiga’s no fat style. It’s a concise novel that progresses at a lightening pace. It is not perfect as it  can get a little predictable, mainly due to the fact that we know what will happen but let this not deter you from what is a wonderful debut and, hopefully, we will see more of Adiga in the future.