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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.

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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 (2031 )
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4.2 (860 )
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Performance
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  •  
    S. M. Griffin Houston, Texas 04-19-12
    S. M. Griffin Houston, Texas 04-19-12 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    3
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Strange logic"
    Would you try another book from Aravind Adiga and/or John Lee?

    Probably not.


    Would you recommend The White Tiger to your friends? Why or why not?

    Only to people travelling to India as a way to understand the logic of the people.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    His description of his living/working space.


    Was The White Tiger worth the listening time?

    Yes, as an insight to the Indian thought process.


    Any additional comments?

    As a soon to be traveller to India this book was recommended to me. It offers insights into the ways of the country in the present day. So complicated yet clinging to many outmoded traditons.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael A. Kearney High Springs, FL United States 04-17-12
    Michael A. Kearney High Springs, FL United States 04-17-12 Member Since 2014

    I'm actually Judi Kearney and an avid audible listener. My listening time is constrained by the weather in that I am a small, organic farmer who needs to "make hay when the sun goes in!" I am also a quilter so I keep busy with that indoors when the weather is too hot to be outside here in Florida.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Learn about India"
    If you could sum up The White Tiger in three words, what would they be?

    Culture differences, educational, surprising.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Learning about the way things are done in India.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    Very authentic sounding. Steady and smooth.


    If you could take any character from The White Tiger out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    Mr. Aushak to find out why he married Pinkie Madam and why he didn't follow her.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    meg Knoxville, TN 02-13-12
    meg Knoxville, TN 02-13-12 Member Since 2009

    meg

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "White Tigers Are So Rare These Days"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The White Tiger to be better than the print version?

    Yes.


    What other book might you compare The White Tiger to and why?

    I have never read a book quite like this one.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    He is a very gifted reader. I look forward to listening to more of his work.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I laughed and felt some sadness too.


    Any additional comments?

    I am so impressed with the great skill of this author, Adiga. He has woven such a clever tale of truth and wisdom about the working poor. In a very clever way, Mr. Adiga has taught us something while he entertained us with this wonderful story. This book is a true gift of pleasure and insight.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb Southern Pines, NC, United States 01-21-12
    Deb Southern Pines, NC, United States 01-21-12 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I felt as if I was back in Asia!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes! This book's protagonist, an entrepreneur, has a different approach to life. The descriptions of life in India are so vivid that I felt as if I was actually smelling and feeling the country. There are many laugh out loud moments. Graft and corruption can be humorous.


    What other book might you compare The White Tiger to and why?

    The author's book


    Which scene was your favorite?

    So many! Probably when his name


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kalyani MENOMONEE FALLS, WI, United States 12-10-11
    Kalyani MENOMONEE FALLS, WI, United States 12-10-11
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    1
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    "Narration annoying"

    As an Indian, it was painful to have to listen to this narrated by a non-Indian faking an Indian accent. It came off sounding like Apu in the Simpsons. Don;t think that's what the authir intended. It was a mutilation.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HonoluluK 11-22-11
    HonoluluK 11-22-11
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    8
    4
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    Story
    "Long story made enjoyable!"

    This book was "assigned" for my book club.
    I didn't have time to read so I bought the audio.
    Because the narrator is from India, the speaker gave the story authenticity with his accent and musical speech.
    The story was fun to listen to.
    It is a modern and compelling story.
    Well worth listening to!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cheryl Savannah, GA, United States 11-10-11
    Cheryl Savannah, GA, United States 11-10-11 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Exotic & engaging"

    A fascinating read. Also, gives one insight into the problems in India that are reported in the media.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kari Lake Forest, CA, United States 10-04-11
    Kari Lake Forest, CA, United States 10-04-11
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    "A bit tedious, but humorous at the same time"

    Although this book seemed a bit repetitive in the ongoing satire of the dismal conditions of the poor and impoverished class in India, the story itself was intriguing enough that I simply had to finish the book. I wish the characters had developed more, but the moral behind the story was evident. That India is full of the Have's and the Have Not's and to become a Have, you need to, at least partly, be prepared to set aside your morals. The relentless descriptions of the poor life style, disgusting living conditions and extensive corruption, while seemingly tedious, hits home that there is little hope for the poor to overcome their conditions and rise out of it.

    You can sit back and just let the book be read to you without much effort and it is humorous in how the narrator describes his chronology. I say it's worth a listen.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Prasanna Sundaragopalan Hopkins, MN United States 09-18-11
    Prasanna Sundaragopalan Hopkins, MN United States 09-18-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "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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    "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
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