Books:The White Tiger(Aravind Adiga)

by Srikanth Mantravadi

The White Tiger is a stinging,sordid saga narrated in an unrelenting almost nauseating fashion.The book traces the life of one Balram Halwai whose struggles with life and cathartic comeuppance make for a brisk and riveting tale.The narration is carried forward by Balram himself who narrates his story by way of a letter to Wen Jiabao,the Premier of China.Adiga throws in the usual caste issues,slimy politicians,ruthless landlords and more into the blend to conjure a dark and deprecating narrative that hits it hard where it hurts the most.

The books novelty lies in the brazen nonchalant way Adiga spins his tale throwing subtlety to the winds.This makes the narrative simple and uncomplicated but magnifies the stench and slime.The crudeness of language is claustrophobic at times.Unrelenting is the word as the writer never slackens the grip he gains once he puts the reader through the tumultuous strands of his story.

The writer’s eye for detail and observation are commendable for the way he pitches in things that are highly common and makes them look well highly uncommon.The humour is a brooding undercurrent and stands out-Its omnipresent and generous.If you are looking for refined prose then this is not the book for you.In fact the crude language can even put one off but I trudged relentlessly to finish the book.

The White Tiger is a book that appeals to the gut rather than the mind.Believe me I felt relieved as soon as I finished it.Here I want to share an interesting thought that struck me midway through the book.Reading The White Tiger was akin to watching the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directed Black.You mightn’t want to read it again.One might savour it since shows the triumph of the underdog and is a perfect partner in crime for Slumdog Millionaire;the flavour of the season.It’s bleak bleak out there.

My Rating-Three Cheers!!!