The White Tiger: Dark, Poignant, Honest, Moving.

By Mru Natu

This is Aravind Adiga’s first novel, and it is brilliant. Poignant, intelligent, humorous, heart-touching, and yet sometimes disgusting, this novel is sure to evoke a few strong and mixed emotions in you. The first time a novel has put me in a fix as to whether I should love it or hate it.

I loved the White Tiger for the little details and observations the author has penned in his story. It is not wrong to say that the author has captured the nerve of India’s villages perfectly. And yet this blatant picture of India that is as yet crippled by its politicians’ corrupted minds saddens me immensely. What is even more disheartening is 12 years after the publication of this novel; unfortunately, I still cannot say that India is no more like the one described in the book. Things have definitely changed. But the poor in India still continue to be exploited by the ruling majority to the point of frustration. They still have a limited livelihood due to limited access to education, which they still believe is unessential for them.

I loved dual personality described for Balram. The way Balram’s strong emotions came through across his letter writing and yet in the writing he has described himself as a docile and innocent man, forever ready to please and serve his master. This brings out the struggle the character went through and it strikes the right chords in the reader’s hearts.

As is rightly pointed out by the author, the gap between city life and village life is still a big valley. Although a beautifully paved, long, dangerous, winding road to connect the two now exists. This novel is so brilliant because of its raw expression, and the reality depicted that hits home. The plight of the village folks, their upbringing, their social values might disgust you, and you might hate the author’s guts, but that’s because you agree with what he writes.

Our View on the Cover

I own a hard copy of the book. The book has an alternate dust jacket with the title of the book printed like the stripes on a tiger’s body. And a car in the corner portraying the profession of the protagonist. Interesting combination and memorable.


Balram, Ashok, Kishan, Kusum (granny), Stork

Writing Style:

The book is in the form of letters-also called an epistolary novel. The story is spread over seven nights when Balram tells his life’s story in letters written to a certain Mr. Jiabao, a government bureaucrat visiting India from Beijing, China. Through the letters, Balram is trying to convince this gentleman to look at the real India and not the pamphlets and brochures handed out to him on his visit. India, where an innocent, sweet, village driver was forced through false accusations and persistent insults to become a wicked, debauched, and ruthless city fellow. Introducing a major literary talent, The White Tiger offers a story of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narrator that this millennium has yet seen.

Who can read:

I recommend this book to readers looking for a heartfelt story about India. Contemporary-fiction readers will also enjoy this novel. The book has adult themes of sex and murder, so I only recommend it for adult readers beyond the age of 18. Don’t miss this unforgettable piece of work!

Our final verdict:

The book is brilliantly written but saddening and dark in terms of the protagonist’s thoughts. It has an unambiguous message – there is a light at the end of the darkest tunnel. It appeals to readers to persist despite the hardships and break free of social molding and live life on your own terms. You are limited only by your thinking and actions.

TitleThe White Tiger
ISBN13: 9781416562597
Edition Reviewed2008
AuthorAravind Adiga
The Asian Review Rating8 out of 10

Categories: Reviews

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