"Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life-- having nothing but his own wits to help him along. And 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.
Amoral, irreverent, deeply endearing, and utterly contemporary, this novel is an international sensation-- and a startling, provocative debut."
I read this book for my World Englishes class. When we read this, we were talking about Indian English, since my professor lived there for many years and still chaperones trips to India over January Term. I had a physical copy of the book, but I found that I needed to find a different way to get the book when I was at a point a little over halfway and I realized that someone had cut out 10-15 pages of the book. Unacceptable, Amazon. Next time, I'll check to make sure the books I order through Amazon aren't like that. The book isn't use-able to anyone at this point. It must be recycled. Or turned into an art project. I like the art project idea better...
And now I turn my attention to the book itself.
I do believe that listening to White Tiger as opposed to merely reading it is a much richer experience. The narrator speaks with an Indian accent that really helps place you in the setting of the story. It was especially helpful for me because in class, we were specifically talking about the different between the English that we tend to speak here in the Northern United States compared to how they tend to speak English in India. It was also helpful because part of what Balram (the main character) talked about was where and how he learned English-- it wasn't really in school and it certainly wasn't with his family).
There are major themes of colonialism in this book and that's another thing that we talk about A LOT in World Englishes class. British colonists came into countries like India, set up their own government and just left, leaving the Indian people to pick up the pieces and put everything back together. It's a disastrous situation and India isn't the only country to be affected by such colonialism.
The only bad thing about this book is that it takes time for it to grow on you. In the beginning, it was difficult to get into the book because of how I imagine Balram sounding (condescending, too smooth for his own good). But as I kept reading, the story picked up and I became more interested.
This is a very interesting read and a good way to become acquainted with Indian culture. I don't think that this will be the last book I will read that is set in India, especially now that I have some background information now.
I give 'The White Tiger':