Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The White Tiger [Adiga]

Book: The White Tiger
Author: Aravind Adiga
Reason for Reading: for fun
Genre: Fiction
Summary: (from the New Yorker): ...set in India, Balram, a chauffeur, murders his employer, justifying his crime as the act of a "social entrepreneur." In a series of letters to the Premier of China, in anticipation of the leader’s upcoming visit to Balram’s homeland, the chauffeur recounts his transformation from an honest, hardworking boy growing up in "the Darkness"—those areas of rural India where education and electricity are equally scarce, and where villagers banter about local elections "like eunuchs discussing the Kama Sutra"—to a determined killer. He places the blame for his rage squarely on the avarice of the Indian √©lite, among whom bribes are commonplace, and who perpetuate a system in which many are sacrificed to the whims of a few.
Christine's Review: This book is excellent. Born in a small village encased with corruption, Balram knows from an early age what is expected of him. He is not supposed to question or challenge his destiny-he should take the path that is in front of him, regardless of the fact that his opportunities in life with be limited. Balram's dream is to break free of this life and become what he perceives as a symbol of strength, power and freedom-a white tiger. But as he learns soon enough that even white tigers have constraints too.

This book is dark, humorous and chilling at times. After reading about Balram's struggles, the social inequities in India and the overall corruption, I am appreciative of growing up in the USA and the opportunities that we each have.

Book Junkie's Grade: A-

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