The White Tiger was Aravind Adiga‘s first novel for which he won the Man Booker prize in 2008. The story is told through a letter from the novel’s narrator Balram written over 7 nights to the Chinese President who is about to visit Bangalore. It is the story of how Balram came to be a successful entrepreneur in Bangalore but the story is far from straight forward and takes us on a journey through an India laid bare packing some serious punches along the way.
Set in a raw and unromanticized India, The White Tiger—the first-person confession of a murderer—is as compelling for its subject matter as it is for the voice of its narrator: amoral, cynical, unrepentant, yet deeply endearing. (GoodReads)
I really enjoyed this novel primarily because the narrator, Balram, really is a likable character who you become close to through his confession style autobiography despite finding out early on that he is a murderer. The India that he lives in has some shocking realities that shape who he becomes and how he sees the world. This white tiger of a man goes on to defy the norm and escape the chicken coop that is the impoverished class but how he does it and what he encounters along the way is both interesting and at times startling. Balram tells his story with both humour and cynicism and it is bound to leave you thinking for some time. I was fully immersed in his world and taken by the intimate details of the people, their realities, and events in the book.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a very good character driven novel. You won’t be disappointed by Balram.