Quick Review: The White Tiger

I don’t really have much to say on The White Tiger, the first novel by Avarind Adiga, which won the 2008 Booker Prize. Apparently, it’s a pretty typical Booker winner…but it’s my first one, so I wouldn’t know.

Anyways, what to say…

For a start, the protagonist is pretty unlikeable, as are most of the people that form part of his story. His tendency to go off on tangents sprouting words to sound verbose and intelligent (one good example is the very start of the novel, where he tells of a useful “thing you can only say in English” which he learnt from his employer’s wife…but doesn’t reveal it for many many pages as simply “what a f***ing joke”) got on my nerves pretty quickly. I’m sure it’s not only the Indians who think “well, I’ve made it, so what I’ve done must need no improvement”, but because of personal experience, that was one of the things that irritated me, as it seemed to come through from the narrator’s tone.

There are, perhaps, a few interesting things about it. For example, what entrepreneurship in India is in reality. It wouldn’t surprise me if there were even more horrific (and true!) stories out there. It was also refreshing to read a ‘local perspective’ on the Ganges River, which is not the holy ground that many tourists see it is, but rather a polluted river you wouldn’t step in otherwise. However, I would have liked the caste system to be explained a little more than in the few references to it…well, a limitation of the first-person narrator – and an unreliable one at that – I suppose.

But really, I was just wrecking my brains to find stuff to talk about. In short, an average tale, but really, I wouldn’t have read it if not for bookclub.

About karice
MAG fan, translator, and localization project manager. I also love musicals, travel and figure skating!

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