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
"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)
A book for all. Clever, funny, relatable without being too heavy.
Countless, just read it and find your own favorite. I tend to fall deeply for the moments in which the character speaks to my own soul and gives me some kind of self awareness about my own life. Plenty of these moments without without the feeling that it was ever intentional. Love that.
No. It took a chapter or two for me to fully digest his accent as horrible as it is to admit but loved that it helped me dig deeper into the character thereafter.
Just try it. It's a quick read, will give you a good laugh here and there and if you want it to, will give you some perspective on your inner "entrepreneur"!
I am an English teacher in China and can now read and write some Chinese.I have been to 13 countries on 4 continents.I am an avid audiophile
The story follows the path of a lowly tea server in his ascent up the financial ladder in India.A country still seperated by castes,but fast modernizing.It chronicles the relationship between master and servant and helps us get a sense of what India is really like and why it is the way it is.The voice of John Lee is wonderful and really adds to the story.It is at times quite funny as well as instructional.I may buy the additonal titles by this author,since I have a keen interest in Asia,but the reviews weren't as glowing as they were for this book.Life of Pi was also very good,but perhaps not as plausible as this story was.
The reader is fantastic - his reading was a rest contribution to the overall experience.
His voice, his accent, his intonation bring the experience to life.
This is a very entertaining story. It is told from the perspective of a feisty "lower-caste" Indian man who outwitted fate and became rich via a combination of dumb luck, cunning, and illegal actions. He has plenty of sarcastic things to say about Indian economic growth, society, and religion, which I found both educational and amusing.
The story is told in a letter to the Prime Minister of China (Wen Jiabao): the protagonist uses his story to give advice to "Mr. Jiabao" and to draw comparisons between India and China. But don't be put off by the epistolary format. The story is short, and there is generally enough happening to make it flow steadily. Plus, the narrator sounds like Sean Connery doing an Indian accent (for example, he says "sir" exactly the way Connery does in the movie The Rock). It took me a little bit to warm up to this combination at the very beginning, but overall I really enjoyed the narration.
Sometimes disturbing to read about life in India from both the perspectives of the poor and the rich. Great story, well done as a narrative by the lead character.
I like the premise of the story, and how it portraits the vast gulf between the rich powerful class and the poor working class. Certainly open ones eyes to the fact that India still has a dark side today (or as the author calls it.. 'the darkness'). The story is also has some dark humorous moments.
The parts I don't like about the book is the last little bit. It felt like it was hurried and the story the author seems to have run out of time or something. I would have preferred if he had spent a bit more time on it.
Overall, the story is better than the 3 that was indicated. I would have given it a 3.5 if the rating system had allowed it.
Provokative, Satirical, Comedic
His ability to keep a large number of voices clearly delineated and effective while maintaining pace and energy throughout the sweep of the narrative.
I had read the hard copy of the novel some time ago and found that the Indian names were complex enough for me to forget who the characters actually were, so that at times I felt lost in the journey of the novel. This was not the case in John Lee's reading.
The Narrator of course! What is ganja? Can this guy not even take the minimal effort to research to pronounce a few words right. John Lee is yet another ignorant Westerner with a poor imitation of the so called "Indian" Accent. Would an English narrator of a French novel get away with this? People would mock him if he tried french but pronounced it incorrectly. Please re-record this book with an Indian narrator or re-record it with an American or Englishman who does not feign an accent. It is quite insulting...really....
The narrator could have taken the pain to pronounce Indian proper nouns as they should be said.
yes. Only because it is a good book.
This ranks right at the top. What a compelling story! It is obviously a work of fiction however the depiction of life in India in modern times is very real.
The format of the book, written in the first person, put the listener into the story in a particularly engrossing manner.
The narrator was the main character and was performed with great authenticity. It was hard to imagine anyone else doing this reading.
Probably none of them. They are not a very appealing group but the picture of the Indian caste system was vividly depicted.
I highly recommend this book. It requires a strong stomach at a few points but gives a particularly arresting picture of life in India in modern times.
Only to people travelling to India as a way to understand the logic of the people.
His description of his living/working space.
Yes, as an insight to the Indian thought process.
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.
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