I know we’ve all heard of this novel already – after all, it did win the Booker Prize last year! – but I just wanted to remind everyone what an amazing story it is, and to urge anyone who hasn’t already read it to give it a go.
Told in a series of letters to His Excellency Wen Jiabao at the Premiers office in Beijing, it is the life story of Balram Halwai, the “White Tiger”, and his rise to become a wealthy entrepreneur. Born into dire poverty (his parents were too busy working to name him, so he was called “boy” until his teacher gave him a proper name!), Balram grows up in the squalor and indignity of the lower castes. He is ambitious, however, and wants a better life, but soon realises he will have to resort to unconventional measures to claw his way out of “the Darkness”.
Adiga paints a searing and completely unromanticised picture of the life of the poor in India, and the corruption at all levels of bureaucracy. It is a measure of the skill of the writer that the novel does not feel depressing or heavy, with moments of great humour and unexpected beauty.
Compelling, intelligent, original and brilliantly written, I thought this book was a fantastic read. $24.95. Fiona