I picked up The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga one day at the supermarket and then left it several years before I got round to actually reading it. But when I did I found it to be an interesting and thought-provoking read. It’s the story of a successful entrepreneur in India and how he got to his current life from humble beginnings as a poor village boy. It’s told in the first person through letters that he is writing to the Chinese Premier, so everything has his own twist on it.
He is a strange character. Initially your instinct is to dislike him. He’s very forward about the fact that he has committed murder to get to where his and shows no remorse about it (no real spoilers here, he’s quite open about everything from the start). He also seems pretty arrogant in the way he’s addressing the Chinese Premier in his letters as an intellectual and social equal. But then as he tells his story and you start to understand him better (and what life can be like in India for someone with his background) you do end up rooting for him.
It’s an interesting insight into modern India and the completely different worlds that exist for the rich and the poor. It shows that people are expected to live the life they are born into and that there are very few opportunities for them to make something different for themselves. So I ended up having a lot of respect for this strange character, who refused to accept his position in life and was determined to have the things that he aspired to.
It’s an interesting book, and really quite unusual. Because the character puts his cynical slant on everything it made sure that it wasn’t too heavy going, and though it paints some bleak pictures of aspects of life in India, I didn’t find it too depressing to read. I raced through it and would recommend it as something a little bit different.