The captivating voice in the audiobook narration of The White Tiger: A Novel takes you on a journey through an India that few outsiders know exists. In first-person, Balram Halwai tells his compelling story of life as one of the many poor in his country, and how through luck and ingenuity he carves his own path. This novel pulls back the curtain on the illusion that is India. Under the exotic shell lurks the reality of a country whose government fails its huge class of poor, and breaking away from the ugliness sometimes involves murder.
With the illumination from an immense chandelier and spanning seven nights, Balram unrepentantly chronicles his life from oppressed servant to successful entrepreneur. Through his eyes we view his native land from his perspective, a picture of how misery can be overcome with intelligence and fortitude. After being put to work in a shop by his relatives; he fantasizes about getting away from the village, and finds his way into being hired as a rich man's driver. When luck leads him to a secret discovery, his ambition and brutality enables him to move up in the impoverished world he was born to.
This retrospective narration from Balram, a confession of sorts, places India's religion, corruption in government and class struggles firmly under the public microscope. A likeable character, he embodies the spirit of India today, even as he proclaims himself to be a representative of what the future will be. The dark humor used throughout adds to the compelling narrative.
The author, Aravind Adiga, conveys how a complex man from a simple background evolves as he runs the gamut from rickshaw puller to business owner. The White Tiger is the first novel written by Adiga, and received the 2008 Man Booker Prize for fiction. A native of Indian, born in 1974, he attended Magdalen College, Oxford and New York's Columbia University. His work has been published in renowned magazines including the Financial Times, the New Yorker and the Times of India..
"I plowed through this book in three days - a fun, easy, read, but with a lot to say about India and about democracy as it is, which was worth listening to. The irony it presented, and the tone of ridiculousness, made the constant serious commentary on our world go down smoothly.
Meg (5 out of 5 stars)