Adiga, Aravind. The White Tiger: a Novel. New York: Free Press, 2008.
Reason read: There is a festival in October that celebrates women called the Sanjhi Festival.
Much like Between the Assassinations, The White Tiger takes place over the course of seven nights. Balram Halwai, also known as the White Tiger, is writing a nightly letter to the Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao prior to the Premier’s visit. Does Balram want the Premier to see India for what it really is or is there a different motive, one that is more personal? The reader isn’t 100% sure until the end. In these letters Balram explains his life and how he escaped servitude as a rich man’s chauffeur to become a cocksure and wealthy businessman. He makes no excuses for his methods for success or the sacrifices he (and his family) had to make. Even from a young age Balram knew he was destined to make his way out of the slums of India, even if it meant murder and corruption and betrayal.
As an aside, I am intrigued by Balram’s frequent references to his favorite poets: Muhammed Iqbal, Rumi, Mizra Ghalib, and a fourth whose name he can’t remember. The known three are actual middle eastern poets.
When stand-alone novels have a ring of familiarity across them I question if the author is striking the formulaic bell.
Edited to add the one quote I liked: “Strange thoughts brew in your heart when you spend too much time with old books” (p 218). Yup.
Author fact: Adiga also wrote Between the Assassinations which I read in 2017.
Book trivia: White Tiger was adapted for film in 2021. Of course, I haven’t seen it.
Playlist: Sting, Enya, Eminem.
Nancy said: Pearl mentioned The White Tiger winning the Man Booker Prize in 2008.
BookLust Twist: from Book Lust To Go in the chapter called “Sojourns in South Asia: India” (p 213).