The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga - A Review

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

It is my belief that there are two kinds of books that can be categorized as fiction. On one hand we have popular Masala fiction like 'Two States: The story of my marriage' written by Chetan Bhagat which top the best sellers list. On the other hand we have literary fiction written by authors like Arundhati Roy and Aravind Adiga which win literary awards.

I am not a very literary type and I had bought 'The White Tiger' because I found it in a small book shop and did not have to pay much for it. But believe me, the book was worth much much more than what I had paid for it. It is a story which clearly brings out the caste hierarchy in the Indian society. It brings out the conditioning of the minds of the poor and the marginalized by centuries of oppression they have been subjected to by the rich and elite of the Indian society.

The story is about a man who wants to break free from what he refers to as a rooster coop where the poor are held in bondage by the rich. He becomes a car driver with great difficulty and the rest of the story is about how he becomes rich by means of a single crime. The book is written in the first person and is written as a letter addressed to the Chinese premier. The flow of the book is simply beautiful.

The story is very simple and just a paragraph is enough to describe it. It is the expressive writing style which holds the reader spellbound and hooked to the book.We are taken into the daily lives of the poorer sections of the society. We are also given a clear picture of the ruthless nature of the characters of both the very poor and the ultra rich. Class distinctions are brought out very clearly.

If at all anything negative can be said about the book it is just that it is not for people who cannot digest the cruder and ruthless side of human nature. The characters as can be expected are a bit slimy and if you are looking for a clear hero and villain type of story this is not the book for you. Almost all the characters that are portrayed in the book have shades of grey.

This book has given me a taste for literary fiction by which I mean the Booker award winning kind of books. I plan to read quiet a few of those in the future.


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