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The White Tiger: A Novel | [Aravind Adiga]

The White Tiger: A Novel

Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. 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. Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem.

Regular Price:$24.49
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Publisher's Summary

British Book Awards, Author of the Year, 2009.

Man Booker Prize, Fiction, 2008.

No saris. No scents. No spices. No music. No lyricism. No illusions.

This is India now.

Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, 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. Born in a village in the dark heart of India, Balram gets a break when he is hired as a driver for a wealthy man, two Pomeranians (Puddles and Cuddles), and the rich man's (very unlucky) son.

Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger.

With a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, Balram teaches us that religion doesn't create morality 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.

©2008 Aravind Adiga; (P)2008 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Balram's evolution from likable village boy to cold-blooded killer is fascinating and believable." (Library Journal)
"A brutal view of India's class struggles is cunningly presented in Adiga's debut....It's the perfect antidote to lyrical India." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (2109 )
5 star
 (741)
4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (100)
Overall
3.9 (930 )
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3 star
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2 star
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Story
4.2 (930 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
 (32)
Performance
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  •  
    Prasanna Sundaragopalan Hopkins, MN United States 09-18-11
    Prasanna Sundaragopalan Hopkins, MN United States 09-18-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    Story
    "Nothing special. Mediocre to low story line."
    What disappointed you about The White Tiger?

    Firstly, the performer accent was horrible. In an effort to make it sound indian, he spoiled the already bad story/content of this book. I am still struggling on what is so big and unique about this book that it won awards. The description of events or a place seems ordinary, no big insights into human minds (hero's mind rather), no thrill or suspense, nothing that is informative. Not sure why others are rating this to be high.

    Waste of credit.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Certainly not from Aravind Adiga.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of John Lee?

    I have listed to John Lee's other performance, but here in an effort to sound original, he has introduced annoyance (especially to the Indian listeners).


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Disappointment on the book content. Anger on the narrator performance.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 06-05-11
    Anita San Francisco, CA, United States 06-05-11 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "A well told story of an ugly world"

    The narrator tells the story with the right amount of detail; enough to let you picture the world he inhabits. It's a very cruel and ugly world, but ironically, the book contains humor. A good read. My only criticism was that the narrator's Indian accent was very heavy and seemed phony. It was a detraction for me, but after about an hour I stop noticing. It's very much worth listening to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Harriet 05-06-11
    Harriet 05-06-11 Member Since 2011

    HerbyD

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    21
    7
    Overall
    "Fascinating portraits"

    Not sure how to describe this book. Took me a while to get into it. Loved his perspective on writing to China's leader. An honest and gripping portrait of a "hard" life in India. Beautiful character portrayals and scenic descriptions. John Lee is by far one of my favorite readers! Worth it just to hear him again.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thor, goT 04-08-11
    Thor, goT 04-08-11 Member Since 2009

    A former globetrotting surf punk turned homeowner with ecclectic tastes. Classics, horror, crime, biographies or lectures? Yes please!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    29
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    4
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    Performance
    Story
    "Excellent on all levels!"

    The story was outstanding and I look very much forward to getting further acquainted with this author's work! Additionally, in terms of the audiobook, the narrator does a great job by taking on an Indian accent and doing a good job of expressing the dark humour that runs throughout this book. I would highly recommend this one! One of my favs!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Saurabh United States 03-26-11
    Saurabh United States 03-26-11
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
    3
    Overall
    "not the Great Gatsby of India.. bad narration too"

    I have mixed feelings about this book. I understand that this is a short book but that's where author's skills ought to be judged. The story is not fluid instead jumping from character to character and from event to event. It moves pretty fast at the cost of coherency. The choice of subject and profession of the protagonist is excellent. It brings out the hollowness of the rich in India very well and also takes a good stab at how drivers and the like look at the world.


    I have recommended Shantaram whole heartedly to anyone wanting to understand India. This book doesn't live up to the mark to be put in that category. It could have been the Great Gatsby of Indian literature.. but alas it's not!


    Regarding the narration:
    The choice of narrator is poor. John Lee might be a good narrator but this was a wrong pick for him. He took up a job he did half-assed. Pronunciations of many Indian words are inaccurate to the point of not recognizing the words themselves.


    overall 2 stars. I don't regret taking the time to listen to it but probably wouldn't recommend this to anyone over other good books. Check out Upamanyu Chatterjee (not available on audible).

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C.M. 03-14-11
    C.M. 03-14-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Overall
    "excellent story of the have and the have-nots"

    I'm not from India so can't comment on the narrator although it does seem odd to not have a native speaker (not sure what audiobook directors/producers are thinking of sometimes)
    That said, I found the book captivating. The type of story - the intersection of rich and poor - is not uniquely Indian -- it could be written about any country. But this is the Indian take on it, with comical/pathetic insights and images of the lifestyles of the growing middle/upper-middle class, and their relationships with the service class.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andrew 03-13-11
    Andrew 03-13-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Stopped 10% of the way in"

    The narrator is just annoying (all the things everyone else said about his Apu accent) AND didn't like the 1st person voice (annoying). As for this second point, I can see how that would be a legit literary choice (to have an obnoxious 1st person voice), but I prefer 1st person books where the voice/character is someone I'd want to hang out with on my own accord. This is not one of those.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Newburyport, MA, United States 03-12-11
    Kathleen Newburyport, MA, United States 03-12-11 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Took awhile to get into."

    I like books where I learn about different countries and cultures and this satisfied that. Very descriptive. It was ultimately a decent read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gautam FREMONT, CA, United States 03-01-11
    Gautam FREMONT, CA, United States 03-01-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    3
    1
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    "Typical Bollywood movie story"

    I had great expectations on the book; but found it to be regular narrative with not much literary value.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    victoria coronado, CA, United States 03-01-11
    victoria coronado, CA, United States 03-01-11 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    6
    3
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    "India brought to light."

    Not a book I would have chosen but was recommended by a friend. GLAD I listened. Well written and full of life in India that you sort of knew but the detail was great. A good listen!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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