So some of you might have seen The White Tiger movie on Netflix or noticed it. This movie is based on Aravind Adiga’s novel of the same name. I read the book ages ago but never got around to reviewing it though I did review a later book by him – Last Man in Tower – here. Continuing on the theme of reading together (kind of), my 18-yo recently read The White Tiger and reviewed it for me; and I had to post it here.
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The White Tiger Book Review
Title: The White Tiger
Author: Aravind Adiga
Publishers: Free Press; 1st edition (April 22, 2008)
Genre: Epistolary Fiction/Indian Literature
Source: My home library
My Son’s Thoughts
Recently adapted by Netflix into a film of the same name, Aravind Adiga’s novel, The White Tiger, serves as a scathing criticism of India’s social structure, and showcases the simultaneous social ascent and moral descent of its main character, Balram Halwai.
A fascinating, sometimes humorous, and often harrowing look at the lives of those who live in “The Darkness” (a term Adiga uses to describe the impoverished in India), The White Tiger sits firmly atop my list of novels I’ve read this year. Throughout the story, it is often difficult to decide who to root for, and I hesitate to describe any of the characters as ‘protagonists’. Even Balram, a character whose journey may look like that of an underdog, is found to lack any sense of morality by the end. Where I often find myself irritated by such stories, in which there are few characters that aren’t morally corrupt in some way, and thus, few to relate to, The White Tiger manages to overcome those trappings with its biting social commentary, fast pace, and endlessly rich text.
Perhaps my only gripe with the novel is that it is written as a sort of letter to former Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, a decision that ultimately confused me as I could not find any meaningful reason for it. While his inclusion did further ground the story in reality and serve as a contrast to those living in “The Darkness”, I still am not entirely sure why Jiabao was chosen as opposed to the numerous other politicians and notable figures that could just have easily exemplified this fact. That nitpick aside (one that likely has more to do with my lack of understanding than any mistake on Adiga’s part), the novel is a fantastic read and extremely easy-to-recommend.
TBH, my thoughts have to rely on memory though my Goodreads rating shows this at 4 stars while I mention in my review of Last Man in Tower (which I also rated as 4 stars on GR) that I loved The White Tiger a teeny bit more than I did Last Man. Anyway, I recall feeling lost in the world of this book even for a few days after the reading of it; and considering a part of its setting is Bangalore endeared me to the book some more! It was a book that gripped my interests from cover to cover.
So what does our little duo family book club say about this one? A MUST-READ!!
For those interested, you can check out this set of discussion questions over at LitLovers for The White Tiger. I loved them all! And make it a book to screen experience by watching the movie after reading the book….
Get It Here
And Now, the End of This Post
Dear reader, have you read any of the books featured/listed today? Your thoughts on them or any recommendations similar to these? I would love to hear about those. And as always, I truly welcome your feedback on this post.. any and all feedback..