WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2008
Meet Balram Halwai, the ‘White Tiger’: Indian servant, philosopher, entrepreneur, murderer…
Born in a remote Indian village, the son of a rickshaw-puller, Balram is taken out of school by his family and put to work in a teashop. As he smashes coals and wipes tables, he nurses a dream of escape, of breaking away from the banks of Mother Ganga into whose murky depths have seeped the remains of a hundred generations.
When a rich village landlord hires him as a chauffeur for his son and daughter-in-law, Balram’s re-education begins. Behind the wheel of a Honda, Balram comes to New Delhi. There he finds himself among cockroaches and traffic-jams, slums and shopping malls, 21st-century technology and medieval superstition.
Trapped between his instinct to be a loyal son and servant, and his desire to better himself, and under the scrutiny of 36,000,005 gods, he discovers a new morality at the heart of the new India. Gradually Balram comes to see how the Tiger might escape his cage…
Balram’s journey from darkness to the light of success is a brilliantly irreverent, blackly comic, deeply endearing and altogether unforgettable tour de force.
‘[An] extraordinary and brilliant first novel… At first, this novel seems like a straightforward pulled-up-by-your-bootstraps tale, albeit given a dazzling twist by the narrator’s sharp and satirical eye for the realities of life for India’s poor… But as the narrative draws the reader further in, and darkens, it becomes clear that Adiga is playing a bigger game…’
Adam Lively, Sunday Times
‘Blazingly savage and brilliant… What Adiga lifts the lid on is also inexorably true: not a single detail in this novel rings false or feels confected. The White Tiger is an excoriating piece of work [that] also manages to be suffused with mordant wit, modulating to clear-eyed pathos.’
Neel Mukherjee, Sunday Telegraph
Aravind Adiga was born in Madras in 1974 and was raised in Australia. He studied at Columbia and Oxford Universities. A former correspondent in India for Time magazine, his articles have also appeared in publications like the Financial Times, the Independent, and the Sunday Times. He lives in Mumbai. The White Tiger is his first novel.