Sunday, August 03, 2008

66. "The White Tiger" - Aravind Adiga

"White men will be finished in my lifetime," says the lead character, Balram, a former driver of a wealthy "master" who writes a lengthy diatribe on the future of Indian business to the Chinese prime minister. With more outsourcing from the U.S., he may be right, but the main theme of the novel is not about business. It's about survival.

Balram escapes a miserable, poor existence in "dark" India (the area along the river) by becoming a chauffeur for Mr. Ashok, the son of a local businessman. Through his experiences, Balram discovers the truth about India that is never shown to outsiders, as well as how to survive the caste system.

Balram has a powerful voice, and you'll cringe while you laugh guiltily. Adiga has captured a unique tone and credible details that have made me wonder - yet again - if I really know anything about the world. Because of the timeliness and edginess of the material, it is no wonder that it made the Man Booker 2008 long list. However, the predictability of the plot detracted from the overall experience.

3.8 out of 5.0 East India Cocktails.

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