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The White Tiger Audiobook

The White Tiger: A Novel

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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

4.0 (2650 )
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4.3 (1414 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Rajesh Ahmedabad Gujarat India 10-28-14
    Rajesh Ahmedabad Gujarat India 10-28-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Hilariously accurate. Dark and funny"

    This is amazing way to tell the story of modern India. The characters are awesome. The plot is outrageous but possible in the crazy new India. But all that apart, this book is hilarious! It is a dark comedy. Do not think too much. This will be funny and interesting irrespective of the genre you normally love. I am a "mystery and thriller" for the traffic and exercises type of a guy...but this book was a well fit for me. This is not the "heavy" stuff which usually comes with award winners.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Binia 10-19-14
    Binia 10-19-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Transporting"
    Would you listen to The White Tiger again? Why?

    Yes, I'm sure I will listen to this again when the mood strikes me to dip into the Darkness of Balram's India. IMO this book is not the strongest contender in the story/plot department. But! It is a fantastic experience - it swept me up and dumped me in a foul, feral, fascinating, funny, frightening place which I have never seen from this perspective, never with this detail or feeling... never cared about overly much. I do now.
    The degree to which this glimpse of that India is haunting and intriguing me makes this one of the best books I have listened to this year.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    I would have enjoyed more dedication and depth at the back end. It felt like a bit of a race to the finish line from a certain point onward. Which is fair enough, I guess, but I would have had attention and interest to spare for Balram's present life.


    What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Atmosphere! I'm no expert on Indian accents, but to my ears John Lee's performance is absolutely wonderful. He made the story that much richer and more engaging for me.


    Any additional comments?

    You'll love this if you enjoy a bit of a culture shock, if you like a-peek-at-the-underbelly type stories, if you can handle a dose of darkness. It's funny, too. And definitely worth a credit.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-20-14
    CHET YARBROUGH LAS VEGAS, NEVADA, United States 06-20-14 Member Since 2015
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    Story
    "CAPITALISM"

    John Lee narrates Aravind Adiga’s book, “White Tiger”. Lee’s exotic voice enhances Adiga’s story of life in India. (Lee is also the narrator of the “Count of Monte Christo”.)

    “White Tiger” pictures the chasm between haves and have-nots in capitalist societies. Like “Native Son”, “White Tiger” speaks about the ugly consequence of discrimination and poverty.

    The story begins with a letter from an Indian servant to a Chinese dignitary that describes entrepreneurial success in India. The servant tells the story of his rise from the second lowest caste in India to successful entrepreneur. Balram, the servant, is an uneducated but acute observer of society. He is destined to be a breaker of social convention. In the course of his life story, he recounts corrupted political ideals, collapsing religion, and the breakdown of family ties. Human nature’s universal weaknesses are exposed as causes of an accelerating gap between rich and poor. An irony of the story is that Balram’s letter is about two countries that have different political philosophies (democratic versus communist) but similar societal maladies. The common thread is their drive toward capitalism. Balram considers himself a social entrepreneur. He argues that he became a successful capitalist by breaking social convention.

    As the Indian servant’s story progresses, Richard Wright’s "Bigger Thomas" and Balram metaphorically meet in a wanton murder of sociologically ignorant human beings. Bigger Thomas and Balram are one side of a capitalist’s coin, minted by poor education, poverty, and discrimination. Their democratic capitalist reality corrupts thought and action.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HRD Kansas City 02-17-14
    HRD Kansas City 02-17-14 Member Since 2016
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    "Wonderful book and wonderful narrator"
    What made the experience of listening to The White Tiger the most enjoyable?

    The language is precise and poetic and the narrator is perfect.


    Any additional comments?

    This book reminded me of The Invisible Man and Crime and Punishment. The narrator is at once sympathetic and absolutely psychotic. The slow unraveling of the tale is set at a perfect pace and the reader did it full justice.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    nina Birmingham AL United States 02-17-14
    nina Birmingham AL United States 02-17-14 Member Since 2007
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    "Fantastic to listen to!"
    What made the experience of listening to The White Tiger the most enjoyable?

    The reader really embodied the story. You felt you were listening to the person talking, and telling this amazing story. The story was compelling.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The protagonist. He was all too real and human.


    What about John Lee’s performance did you like?

    He really communicated the Indian accent and the feel of the story.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Heather Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada 02-04-14
    Heather Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada 02-04-14 Member Since 2013
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    "White Tiger casts a knowing light on the darkness"
    Where does The White Tiger rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    In the top three.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Word usage - for example, many characters given names they weren't born with, "beak" as a euphemism, the car never being the car but the Honda City.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Any scene in which the White Tiger bluffs his way along, professing to know what he does not. Also, his exasperation with the wanted poster that might have people thinking he is a terrorist instead of a murderer.


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

    It made me laugh but not cry. I was taken aback by the murder, even though it was expected, as if I thought the act would turn out to be something other than murder.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Judy 02-03-14
    Judy 02-03-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Loved the story, but..."
    What did you like best about this story?

    I thought the story was fascinating. Love it when a window into a completely different world is opened.


    Did John Lee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    I was nervous when Is saw John Lee was the narrator. Sometimes he is too fast. But then I thought? Why is there an Englishman faking an Indian accent for this reading? Is there a dearth of Indian narrators? The kind of rubbed me the wrong way.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Atalie LOS ANGELES, CA, US 10-08-13
    Atalie LOS ANGELES, CA, US 10-08-13
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    "A+ narration, C- story"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No. I don't understand the hype surrounding this book. It failed to live up to my expectations, namely it's not interesting. Mostly, I didn't think Adiga's use of telling the reader the story from the protagonist's POV - conversation between him and the Prime Minister- was successful. Instead it just caused the story to drag on.


    What was most disappointing about Aravind Adiga’s story?

    I found it dull. Which is odd considering that it is set in India and he goes into great length to describe the colorful landscape and people. I


    Have you listened to any of John Lee’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I haven't listened to John Lee's other performances; however, his narration was excellent and the only thing that kept me from deleting the audio book.


    Do you think The White Tiger needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Absolutely not.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Wayne Temecula, CA, United States 09-19-13
    Wayne Temecula, CA, United States 09-19-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Entrepreneurial Murder turns me off"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    I don't buy into the author's attempt to have his main character justify murder as an "entrepreneurial" advancement mechanism. It totally turned me off and I had a hard time listening to the character's attempts at justifying it.


    What could Aravind Adiga have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    He could have had the brother of the boy who was killed by the main character's taxi service put a bullet in his head. That would have been nice karma.


    Did John Lee do a good job differentiating all the characters? How?

    John Lee is always decent, but just ok in this doing the Indian accent.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The White Tiger?

    I would not have published this book. If I was an editor I would have told the author to look elsewhere.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 07-23-13
    Peter Prince George, BC, Canada 07-23-13 Member Since 2012
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    "India. 21st Century Wild West"
    Any additional comments?

    This book has it all. A surprise ending that would make M.Night Shyamalan envious and much more gritty than Slum Dog Millionaire. Captivating!

    It's a Wild West, every man for himself, desperate, modern day gold rush in India.
    Our main character explains in detail, his every choice and action, and leaves nothing to the imagination.

    The narrator John Lee should be nominated for an award for his performance with this book.
    With over 300 audiobooks under my belt this was the most memorable. He was perfect.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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