The White Tiger - Arvind Adiga

AUTHOR -Arvind Adiga, is an Indian writer and journalist. His Debut Novel, The White Tiger, won the 2008 Man Booker Prize.


The White Tiger: A Novel: Atlantic Books, Ltd (UK), Free Press (US), 2008

*Last Man in Tower: Fourth Estate (IND), 2011

SYNOPSIS – In the most amusing manner of narration to the chinese premier from an anonymous speaker,this book unfolds its satirical story of irony present in Indian society by highlighting the day today instances to point out gap between master and servant class.

Balram, the protagonist, lived in the village of Laxmangarh, Bihar, a community deep in the "Darkness" of rural India. The son of a rickshaw puller; his family is too poor for him to be able to finish school. Despite being clever and being promised a scholarship, Balram instead is forced to break coals and wipe tables in a tea shop. After learning how to drive, Balram gets his break when a rich man from his village hires him as a chauffeur for his son, Ashok, who lives in the city of New Delhi, Having recently returned from a stint in America, Ashok is conflicted by the corruption and harshness of life in India, and has to deal with his family’s unhappiness with his foreign marriage to his current wife, a member of a different caste.

The city from behind the steering wheel of his honda city car is a revelation for Balram. As he drives his master and his wife to shopping malls and call centers, Balram becomes increasingly aware of immense wealth and opportunity all around him, and the contrast between the master and servant classes. Through these experiences, Balram becomes increasingly worldly and ambitious.

The book's title, The White Tiger, is the protagonist Balram's nickname, which he earns by being deemed the smartest boy in his village by an education inspector. With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create virtue, and money doesn't solve every problem -- but decency can still be found in a corrupt world, and you can get what you want out of life if you eavesdrop on the right conversations.


"Please understand Your Excellency, that India is two countries in one: an India of light and an India of darkness. The ocean brings light to my country. Every place on the map of India near the ocean is well off. But the river brings darkness to India-the black river."

"To break the law of his land-to turn bad news into good news- is the entrepreneur prerogative."

"I don't keep a cell phone, for obvious reasons- they corrode a man brain,shrink his balls and dry up his semen as all of us know."

"To sum up-in the old days there were one thousand castes and destinies in India. These days, there are just two castes: Men with big bellies, and men with small bellies. And only two destinies: eat or get eaten up."

"These are three main diseases in this country: cholera, typhoid and election fever. The last one is the worst; it makes people talk and talk about things that they have no say in."


story of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narration

It is a very different kind of novel, it added a quite illuminating 21st-century perspective to my emerging image of country. Is it accurate? Hard to decide. Its unreliable narrator, the White Tiger of the title, a poor village boy, servant, driver, murderer, and now self-made entrepreneur in the boom city of Bangalore, certainly has a nasty story to tell, which he does in a series of unsolicited letters of advice to the visiting Chinese prime minister Jiabao.

I almost came to like or at least respect him for his honesty and decency within all that even greater depravity surrounding him. Although our country has a democracy, this book bravely shows by the media of a tight face pace thriller, how our culture apparently has become the one where lower class is pushed off in a chain of continual servitude at every sphere of their life no matter what changes occur otherwise.

This book doesn't shove itself in your face- but it politely intrudes into your life and leads you through the dark thought process of a man desperate to break away from himself and his fate. You justify his actions as he justifies them; you can't help but celebrate his victories and root for him to have courage. It's dark, it's hilarious, it's real and it's just so terribly satisfying.

I might actually read it again and I never read a book twice; this might be the first time I want to revisit a character just because he was so strangely likable and cunning and hilarious without directly trying to be. You talk of two cynics and how they enjoy each others hatred for the world, I guess that’s what it is between me and Balram.

I respect this young writer for pulling off this unflinching, brave book about India beyond the glossy brochures, the government doublespeak, and the common stereotypes repeated in the media. Not only that, I also found it a hell of a read. Miss it if you are too afraid to see the life beyond your world of twitter,M tv and facebook, or if you lack the sense of humor that misery gives to someone’s life. A must must recommendation to everyone, one of the best read books of all time on my charts.

RATING – 4.9/5.

PRICE - Rs 540.

Hardcover edition

HarperCollins Publications

purchased from Landmark bookstore,@ wave mall, Lucknow

PS – Gifted to me by my elder brother, Piyush Tiwari. Photo credit - Me, from my Nokia 5130 2Mp cam.


  1. definitely ur best so far!! :) m surely gonna read d book, luved every bit of ur review. could u please review adiga's next book 2? m dyin to read it!!

  2. always like reading your reviews .. and as far as this book is concerned .. i have not read it .. something inside me doesn't agree to step out of fiction too easily !! it still is on my wishlist :)

  3. hell no, i am not going to finish this one. Yes, i do have the book, but the first 50 odd pages bored me to death! Maybe, one day i wil finish it...till then, i am gonna let it gather some dust.

    Though your take on it looks promising. If i get tired of fantasy, that will be the one i wil go for :P


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