Stitch and Bear

A long-running Irish blog with reviews of the best restaurants in Dublin and throughout Ireland. Some wine and cocktails thrown in for good measure!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

The White Tiger - Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger was the widely-acclaimed 2008 winner of the Man Booker Prize. It was praised as being accessible and a page-turner as well as containing literary merit. It tells the tale of Balram Halwai, the "white tiger" of the title. He is a ex-teashop worker who is now an entrepeneur in modern India, providing services to the multitudes of call-centre workers.

Denied the chance of completing his education by his parents, Balram is forced into work but manages to obtain work as a chaffeur to a wealthy businessman. As he drives, he overhears his master's business and learns about the corruption of moden India. Balram relates his life-story through a series of letters to the Chinese prime minister in which he documents the modern India. One hand hand it is all 'Light' - modern offices and workers bringing prosperity but on the other hand there is 'Darkness' - poverty and corruption.

To be honest, I can't see for the life of me how this was considered to be a worthy winner of the Booker prize. It is a dark satire of modern India, but it isn't particularly funny. In literary terms, the characters are more like caricatures and feel very two-dimensional at times. It's a very average book.

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