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The White Tiger | [Aravind Adiga]

The White Tiger

Balram Halwai is the White Tiger - the smartest boy in his village. Too poor to finish school, he has to work in a teashop until the day a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. Balram becomes aware of immense wealth all around him, and realizes the only way he can become part of it is by murdering his master. The White Tiger presents a raw and unromanticized India, both thrilling and shocking.
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Publisher's Summary

British Book Awards, Author of the Year, 2009.

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2008.

Balram Halwai is the White Tiger - the smartest boy in his village. Too poor to finish school, he has to work in a teashop until the day a rich man hires him as a chauffeur, and takes him to live in Delhi. The city is a revelation. Balram becomes aware of immense wealth all around him, and realizes the only way he can become part of it is by murdering his master.

The White Tiger presents a raw and unromanticized India, both thrilling and shocking.

©2008 Aravind Adiga; (P)2008 Oakhill Publishing Ltd

What the Critics Say

"Dazzling...an Indian novel that explodes the cliches...It's a thrilling ride through a global power...Brimming with idiosyncrasy, sarcastic, cunning and often hilarious." (The Independent)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (175 )
5 star
 (77)
4 star
 (50)
3 star
 (31)
2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.0 (22 )
5 star
 (8)
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3 star
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2 star
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Story
4.0 (23 )
5 star
 (9)
4 star
 (8)
3 star
 (4)
2 star
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1 star
 (1)
Performance
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  •  
    Frank London, Greater London, United Kingdom 28/12/2008
    Frank London, Greater London, United Kingdom 28/12/2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    20
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    Overall
    "A fine Booker winner"

    Don't get me wrong, I loved "God of Small Things" and enjoyed "A Suitable Boy" and still think "Shame" is Rushdie's finest novel, but Adiga's "White Tiger" explores a very different India. No elaborate weddings, no saris and spices, no arranged marriages - this is the India of the economic miracle of the 'Electronic City' that is Bangalore, of self-appointed 'entrepreneurs' like Balram Halwai who have come from "the Darkness" of small villages and are eager for wealth and status.

    Written in the form of a seven letters to Wen Jiabao, the visiting Chinese premier, offering him lessons in entrepreneurship and democracy, but Balram's rags-to-riches tales is in fact it is a lesson in poverty, humiliation and murder. Adiga's narrative voice is sharp and sardonic, his grasp of telling images and details haunting and his satire of the Indian middle classes lacerating. This is not a novel for those with romantic illusions about India - it is angry, didactic, funny, furious and viscerally compelling

    20 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bradley Bishop's Stortford, Herts, United Kingdom 11/02/2009
    Bradley Bishop's Stortford, Herts, United Kingdom 11/02/2009 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    8
    2
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    0
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    Overall
    "The White Tiger"

    Very enjoyable read, nice story line and very educational about India and it's history. First book of A Adiga I had listened but, would happy to listen anymore he writes

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tei Banbury, Oxon, United Kingdom 31/07/2009
    Tei Banbury, Oxon, United Kingdom 31/07/2009 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    22
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    95
    6
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    "GOOD STORY SHAME ABOUT THE READER"

    I am struggling to finish listening to this book as the reader is so poor. I find her delivery deeply irritating. It sounds like she has never read an audio book before and that there is no direction. Her monotone voice makes the production seem amateur. It is such a shame. I think I will have to read the book this time.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judith Pinner, United Kingdom 14/03/2009
    Judith Pinner, United Kingdom 14/03/2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    42
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    78
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    "True India"

    A magnificent tale, beginning in 'the darkness', deep interior India which provides the servants to the middle classes of Guragaon. The journey of the White Tiger is wonderfully vivid, from the coal fields of Bihar to the fairy-tale towers of Gurgaon, and on to twenty-first century Bangalore, each location drawn with brilliant and cruel accuracy, and each character with its real-life parallels. I'm not sure I'd give this to my friends whose lives are reflected here, the depictions of place and person are so close to the bone! Aravind Adiga does justice to the wonderful complexity of India.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S edinburgh, mid lothian, United Kingdom 26/08/2010
    S edinburgh, mid lothian, United Kingdom 26/08/2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    "Just wonderful."

    This book is just wonderful. I was transported to a modern and fascinating, if often brutal and ruthless India. I loved the main character in all his guises, and I was rooting for him throughout the book, even though at times I did cringe, I did understand where he was coming from. The narrator delivers the story with perfect pitch and tone and a voice totally suited to the character. I could not stop listening till I had heard the whole story. I lost a weekend in blissful tense, often harrowing drama which brought an all too realistic view of India which I had previously romanticised from lovely holiday experinces. I love the place, but I have a whole new understanding now. A fantastic book. Buy it!!!!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MR SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom 13/04/2013
    MR SHEFFIELD, United Kingdom 13/04/2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Great Read- The White Tiger"

    Nice book; good read and smooth listening. Simple direct language with an Indian twist. The book delivers a nice message from a different perspective. It gives a different concept to abolish the basic preconceptions of the India which is growing with every day that it passes through. The adaptability and innovations that are discussed are truly remarkable. International appeal.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jill Taupo, New Zealand 03/07/2012
    jill Taupo, New Zealand 03/07/2012 Member Since 2011

    Jillyd

    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
    ratings
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    8
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    "An Indian Driver's Tale"

    Excellent!! I used every excuse to catch up & keep listening.And the narrator,Bindya Solanki,was outstanding.I had read this book,but lstening was so much better than reading.Try it,you won't be disappointed.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    caroline United Kingdom 24/05/2012
    caroline United Kingdom 24/05/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
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    "LOVE this book!"

    From the first paragraph read I was absolutely hooked! The story follows the struggle to survive in India and the driver sub-culture. This is not a fairytale, it tells the reader about the fixed class system and the hard struggle to get out of the "darkness". This is one of the best books I have ever listened to, I wished my long journey to work was longer! The book would make the most amazing film.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Madeline York, United Kingdom 05/04/2012
    Madeline York, United Kingdom 05/04/2012 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
    63
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    84
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    "Dispiriting"

    This is an interesting novel and well worth listening to, but I found as it went on that I was feeling more and more depressed about people in general, the Indian subcontinent in particular and the effect of global capitalism on us all. It is very well written, often amusing, often dark and a stark portrayal of old feudal India and modern urban India, both portrayed as lacking in morality and ruled by ignorance, manipulation, cunning and corruption. The few lines of hopeful optimism at the end do not outweigh the heaviness and cynicism created by the book as a whole and I was glad it was relatively short. The reader makes a few mistakes but reads it very well. But why a woman reading when this is very much the story of a man and delivered in the first person?

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tim United Kingdom 12/10/2011
    Tim United Kingdom 12/10/2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "How the other half live"

    A facinating look into the lives of people from the darkness. Maybe we're all caged chickens trapped in destinies sights. A great book.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 25 results PREVIOUS123NEXT
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  • EM
    13/11/09
    Overall
    "Brilliant"

    Brilliant, witty, bleak, but incisive perspective of contemporary India's caste system. The narrator is a unique character. Highly recommended. The narrator is fabulous - I became totally involved in the story.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Geoff
    Napier, New Zealand
    17/04/09
    Overall
    "Well over rated"

    This is a Booker Prize winner. It must have been a very slow year! Books out of India seem to be all the rage amongst the English intelligensia that choose competition winners. This book doesn't make the cut. For something really good in this genre try " A Fine Balance " by Rohinton Mistry. It didn't win the Booker, but should have!!!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Rajiv
    Charlottesville, VA, USA
    25/03/09
    Overall
    "Story Telling and Narrative style keeps the tempo"

    The story is captivating, while the Narrator's tyle and personifaction of character kept me a nice tempo in the audiobook.

    Refreshing and sarcastic look over Indian success story, with pinch of salt.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • glenn
    Sydney, Australia
    01/09/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Absolutely Love It !!"

    I read the book and listened the audio . Both Great. And i really loved the narration by Bindya Solanki
    I cannot compare it to any other book - its a unique , creative and insightful commentary on Indian society and culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Charmaine
    JOHANNESBURG, South Africa
    19/12/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A Rags to Riches entertaining read"

    I enjoyed this. Always good to read about the poor, the grubby, the disadvantaged, the unfortunate who rise above their sad stations, their desperate circumstances and finally enjoy the good life. It was particularly good that our hero escaped sleeping with the cockroaches - and the fact that he enriched himself by taking out his benefactor seemed perfectly all right. One had to wonder whether he was a better person as the disadvantaged groveler or the opportunistic advantaged.....

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Stephanie
    Epping, Australia
    27/08/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Great!! Thoroughly enjoyed it."
    Would you listen to The White Tiger again? Why?

    Probably not, too many other things to listen to!


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Badram, the main character was my favourite. He had such a great tone and way of narrating.


    What about Bindya Solanki’s performance did you like?

    Excellent expression.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ian C Robertson
    South Australia, Australia
    19/05/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Missed Out"

    There have been so many stellar reviews, a Booker and nearly everyone I know who's read this book highly recommend it. I guess I just missed out. It didn't grab me at all. I kept thinking that it was pretending to be Rushdie and missing the mark. The last Chapter was the high point (as it should be), but it just wasn't very high. I found the plot pedestrian and, appreciating that it's about the seedy side of the lines, there was no magic in the words.

    It's always hard to write in the first person. One runs the risk of not developing the other characters. I think the risk was realised this time. I can't now recall any character that appealled to me.

    As for the performance, I regret to say it just doesn't work. First, there is the problem that the narrator sounds like a young female, whereas the content is meant to be from a middling aged man. Secondly, the English accent is just disconcerting. Even allowing that Ms Solanki has the cultural background and does an ok job with the Indian accents, the majority of the book is first person narrative, and she just couldn't bridge the credibility gap. I spent a lot of time wandering off (because the text wasn't holding me) thinking about how Lyndam Gregory might have brought this to life, as he did Midnight's Children. A better narrator for THIS book may have made a world of difference. Thirdly, I found the narration annoying because it paused in unusual spots. This must have been the reader's interpretation, because the text (which was available to me) didn't read to me the way it was read to me.

    Maybe I just expected too much, but this just didn't deliver on all levels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • DIANE
    Thornhill,, Ontario, Canada
    21/04/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Wow! What a spectacular journey."
    What made the experience of listening to The White Tiger the most enjoyable?

    The narrator was outstanding. I loved the first person narrative. The story was engaging and eventually, uplifting.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Bahram (Muna) was my favourite character. He saw beyond the squalor of his life and was able to see what was possible for him.


    What does Bindya Solanki bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Her voice was so well suited to this narrative. I loved her accent and I thought she did all the various characters very well.


    Any additional comments?

    This is a must read. I am glad it was recommended to me by a friend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    crowthorne, United Kingdom
    23/01/12
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent take on the modern Indian commercial wor"
    What did you love best about The White Tiger?

    Very well written, and from a fascinating angle of observation looking into the levels of affluence in today's Indian Cities. All parts of society are given a sceptical view , from a young man's position and future aspirations. Very funny mixing serious social issues with a great touch.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Mrs Pinky


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lisa
    Austin, Texas
    10/04/11
    Overall
    "White Tiger"

    While this book was vastly different from my usual downloads, I thought it was fantastic and very funny in a wonderfully unique way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 12 results PREVIOUS12NEXT

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