Monday, January 18, 2010

Book Review - The White Tiger - by Arvind Adiga

Rating - 9/10

I have had a feeling right from the childhood days that only those make it to become a great writer, who have got an uncommon, enigmatic and somewhat unique name. The kind of name that has the power to stay in your mind for quite a long time. My strange feeling, owing its origin to the examples from real life, be it Salman Rushdie, Roald Dahl, Ruskin Bond or Jhumpa Lahiri, has assimilated great examples with every passing day. Arvind Adiga, the Booker 2008 winner for his debut novel ‘The White Tiger’, is the one who came into my uncommon-name-list, of-late.

His first book, The White Tiger, has indeed proved itself to be the white tiger amongst all other contemporary books. Choosing a refreshingly new style of story-telling, Adiga made his novel one of the most engrossing reads of the decade. The novel narrates the story of a poor, uneducated and ‘half-baked’ village-lad who is unconsciously entangled in the vicious circle of slavery and exploitation by the high-class, the so-called affluent society and how he carries on his education by listening and watching people and that determines his subsequent actions which in turn liberates him from the chains of subordination, chains of slavery. Adiga’s writing style is lucid, simple-yet-appealing and captivating. The story runs with a great pace provoking the imagination and what-happened-nextism in readers’ mind to the zenith, with intelligent sarcasm embellishing the whole of the plot rendering a breathtaking ironical humour running throughout his narration.

The book is in-fact a long letter addressed to Mr. Jiabao, the Premier of the China; written over a period of seven days in eight different chapters; who is to visit India in a week to meet the entrepreneurs of India – often regarded as the masterminds behind India’s sharp economic development. The narrator is the one who’s writing the letter to Mr.Jiabao and he describes what’s there at the grass-root level of India’s progress. He brings it out by relating his own story and relates how he rose from the poverty by his insolence intertwined with hook or crook, by the mere play of foresightedness, deceit and ruthlessness, by having the necessary grit to break free from the shackles of slavery; and then moving to Bangalore to become one of the prominent entrepreneurs of the mega-city. It is an enthralling journey of how the corrupt and amoral society takes its toll on a gentle, meek and servile soul and instigates him to break the master-slave barrier that has been running since the ages in the roots of Indian society; and make his presence felt in the society, by measures that are inconceivable but vehement.

It brings out the real India, the actual picture of corruption and deceit behind the concept of ‘India Shining’ and what all lustre is this ‘shining’ taking away from the already-dark India. Adiga deserves all the accolades he has got for the book. The book is a mirror to Adiga’s intelligence as a writer.

This book is the author’s take on reality of the nation with marvelous story-telling and deep, insightful and well-researched description of what constitutes the base of India – the poor exploited souls – the society that has been ruled by the rich since history, the society that’s unknown to the world, the society that has been kept away from being described in literature.

This is the story of a not-so-common common man. This is the story of the White Tiger. And take me seriously when I say that this story is a must read.

P.S. This is the first book review I've written and I loved writing it.

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