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The White Tiger: A Novel [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Aravind Adiga , John Lee
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 6 2008
No saris. No scents. No spices. No music. No lyricism. No illusions.

This is India now.

Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered light of a preposterous chandelier, Balram tells us the terrible and transfixing story of how he came to be a success in life—having nothing but his own wits to help him along. Born in a village in the dark heart of India, Balram gets a break when he is hired as a driver for a wealthy man, two Pomeranians (Puddles and Cuddles), and the rich man's (very unlucky) son.

Through Balram's eyes, we see India as we've never seen it before: the cockroaches and the call centers, the prostitutes and the worshippers, the water buffalo and, trapped in so many kinds of cages that escape is (almost) impossible, the white tiger. And with a charisma as undeniable as it is unexpected, he teaches us that religion doesn't create morality and money doesn't solve every problem—but decency can still be found in a corrupt world, and you can get what you want out of life if you eavesdrop on the right conversations.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. First-time author Adiga has created a memorable tale of one taxi driver's hellish experience in modern India. Told with close attention to detail, whether it be the vivid portrait of India he paints or the transformation of Balram Halwai into a bloodthirsty murderer, Adiga writes like a seasoned professional. John Lee delivers an absolutely stunning performance, reading with a realistic and unforced East Indian dialect. He brings the story to life, reading with passion and respect for Adiga's prose. Lee currently sits at the top of the professional narrator's ladder; an actor so gifted both in his delivery and expansive palette of vocal abilities that he makes it sound easy. A Free Press hardcover (Reviews, Jan. 14). (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"A brutal view of India's class struggles is cunningly presented in Adiga's debut.... It's the perfect antidote to lyrical India." ---Publishers Weekly Starred Review

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
34 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Living in a Decadent Society Nov. 21 2008
By Ian Gordon Malcomson HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
"The White Tiger" is this year's latest recipient of the Man Booker Prize for the best novel of the year. While the judges don't always get it right when selecting for this award, I think they made a fair choice this time. The story oozes with a sense of what it must be like for a young person growing up in a modern Indian village with no familial support or economic means to make it in life. The main character is an intelligent and literate young man named Balram, who was born an outcast but has miraculously risen to become a richman's driver in the capital city of Dehli. Upon hearing a radio broadcast of his Prime Minister telling his Chinese counterpart that India is a very civilized and virtuous society, he decides to do the unthinkable and write the Chinese premier and tell the real side of the story. What the reader gets here is the rough and rude reality of what it means for many Indian children growing up in an irrational environment that uses and abuses them for criminal and sexual purposes. While the government has banned the caste system, where people are perpetually assigned to hold menial jobs, it still flourishes in all parts of Indian life. "White Tiger", the name given the young boy while at school, becomes his moniker as he makes his way into the nefarious world of corrupt officials and crime bosses. Because he is literate, he has become groomed to be a driver and lackey for a rich family in Delhi. While some might see this as a step-up in terms of ascending the social ladder of Indian society, it is anything but. Balram becomes quickly acquainted with, and be expected to handle, the nastiest of situations that involve murder, cheating, bribery, and stealing. Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Balram Halwai is the narrator of this darkly comical view of life in contemporary India. The main theme of the novel is the stark contrast between the `Darkness' inhabited by the working class and the rural poor and the `Light' occupied by the wealthy, as India rises to be a modern global economy. There are other contrasts included: the religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims, as well as the tension for individuals between family loyalty and independence.

Balram's story comes to us via seven letters to the Chinese prime minister who, Balram has decided, should be told the truth about India before a forthcoming state visit. And Balram's form of truth, and his own part in India's transition, makes for interesting reading.

Balram lived in the village of Laxmangarh, deep in rural India. He's the son of a rickshaw puller, and is unable - because of his family's poverty - to finish school. Despite being clever, and being promised a scholarship, Balram is forced to work. One of his jobs involves wiping tables in a Dhanbad teashop. When Balram learns of the high salary paid to car drivers, he learns to drive and gets a lucky break when a rich man from his village (known as `The Stork') hires him as a chauffeur for his son, Ashok, who lives in New Delhi. Living in New Delhi is a revelation for Balram, who quickly becomes aware of immense wealth and opportunity around him, and of the great chasm between the wealthy and the poor. These experiences make Balram worldlier and more ambitious, and he wants to be part of this glamorous new India.

So, how does Balram make his own transition from the Darkness into the Light? By murdering his employer, and assuming a new identity.
`White men will be finished within my lifetime', he tells, us.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, sad, memorable Aug. 25 2009
By Andrea
Format:Paperback
[Also posted on LibraryThing]

As I was reading this, it occured to me that if you relocated The Remains of the Day to India and then had the story reinterpreted by John Irving, the result would probably be very similar to The White Tiger. One afternoon, Balram Halwai hears on the radio that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is coming to India to talk to entrepreneurs. Balram sees himself as the ultimate entrepreneur and thinks his is the only story Jiabao really needs to hear. The novel is Balram's letter to Premier Jiabao, written over the course of one week, describing how he came to be such a success: his childhood in the poor village of Laxmangarh, his father's death, the beginning of his career as a chauffer to one of India's wealthy landlords, and his eventual determination to break out of a life of indentured servitude.

There is a lot of humour and wit in Balram's story, but there is also sadness and anger. Balram struggles with doing what is best for his family vs. what he wants for himself. He is greatly affected by his father's death and is determined to create a better life for himself but, as it becomes more attainable, Balram also struggles to maintain his own values in the face of what he sees as the corruption of the rich. In addition to all of these conflicts going on within Balram, we see an India that is struggling to find its own way while edging closer to civil war.

Through Balram's letters, we experience an India that is vivid in its sights, sounds, and smells. There is beauty but there is also chaos, there is the Light and the Darkness. Adiga's writing and imagery are fantastic throughout the book.

I can't say enough great things about The White Tiger. I loved it from start to finish and didn't want to put it down. It seems so simple as you read it but it gets under your skin, it gets in your head, and just takes over. I highly recommend this.

Overall: a funny, sad, and very memorable read. Highly recommended.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I am satisfied with this product it was as described.
Published 7 days ago by Sandeep
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Book was well written although I was disappointed in the ending. Will read more by this author, Aravind Adiga.
Published 1 month ago by Linda Mizzivl
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent!
Published 1 month ago by Len gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars Adiga has the Indian caste system by the tail!
Autho Adiga has the Indian caste system by the tail in this enlightening & very well executed delivery. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Sheryl in Vancouver
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, thought-provoking read
I was surprised at how intriguing this book was. It was a requirement for school but I thoroughly enjoyed it. It made me think about things I never thought to think about before. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Meagz
5.0 out of 5 stars The white tiger
One of the best books I have ever read. Exciting, challenging, a real adventure and different. Booker prize winner. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Mrs. Colleen M. Paul
5.0 out of 5 stars The White Tiger
I loved the writing and the ideas and the background info culturally, socially and emotionally for those growing up in that milieu. Read more
Published 5 months ago by flora danziger
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if you're curious about working poor in India...
This is my first book by this author. I found it very disturbing to see the social inequality in modern India. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Pat the cat
4.0 out of 5 stars The White tiger by Aravind Adiga
Although disturbing I found this book to be interesting and thought provoking. It took me a while to understand the characters but in doing so I had to keep on reading.
Published 12 months ago by mamap@shaw.ca
4.0 out of 5 stars Winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize
Was given this book by a member of my book club. It is a unique novel set in India and told in the perspective of an entrepreneur. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Diana E. Young
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