The White Tiger
In this darkly comic début novel 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 élite, among whom bribes are commonplace, and who perpetuate a system in which many are sacrificed to the whims of a few. Adiga’s message isn’t subtle or novel, but Balram’s appealingly sardonic voice and acute observations of the social order are both winning and unsettling.
Winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize
"The book gains from dealing with pressing social issues and significant global developments with astonishing humour". Michael Portillo, Chair of 2008 Man Booker judges
"Compelling, angry, and darkly humorous, The White Tiger is an unexpected journey into a new India. Aravind Adiga is a talent to watch."
Mohsin Hamid, author of The Reluctant Fundamentalist
"This fast-moving novel, set in India, is being sold as a corrective to the glib, dreamy exoticism Western readers often get...If these are the hands that built India, their grandkids really are going to kick America's ass...BUY IT."
New York Magazine
"Darkly comic...Balram's appealingly sardonic voice and acute observations of the social order are both winning and unsettling."-
The New Yorker
"The White Tiger echoes masterpieces of resistance and oppression (both The Jungle and Native Son come to mind) [and] contains passages of startling beauty."
Lee Thomas, San Francisco Chronicle