Saturday, April 17, 2010

A wonderful read!

Just finished reading The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga, winner of the 2008 Man Booker prize.

The writing is amazing.

One would like to call it funny except for the fact that it is so incredibly dark and tragic.

It is written as a first-person, sort of epistolary novel, a collection of "letters" from self-styled entrepreneur Balram (Munna) Halwai to Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao. In these letters, Balram offers advice to the Premier, based on his experience in his own rise from son of a rickshaw puller in a small town in India ("The Darkness") to successful businessman in Bangalore. Let's just say this is no Horatio Alger rags to riches story...there are bodies on the road.

Adiga describes in vivid detail some of the forces at work in modern India, that shape the lives of millions of marginalized people: family, class, corruption, modernization, caste. He has few kind words for any of them.

This is probably the best book I've read in a long time. But don't read it if you are not prepared to squirm a little.

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