NYbookworm

Aravind Adiga: The White Tiger

Posted by nybookworm on December 3, 2009

In an interview with Aravind Adiga that appears in the back of the paperback edition Adiga says that the three writers that most influenced him in writing The White Tiger were Ralph Ellison, James Baldwin and Richard Wright.  If you’ve ever read any of these writers you know they wrote about the black American experience in a segregated post-war America.  The White Tiger, a fitting addition to the legacy of this group of writers, takes place in modern-day India and illustrates the inequality between wealthy westernized Indians and the uneducated poor they employ as their servants.   The narrator, a driver to a wealthy family from a small village, tells his story of desperation and poverty against the backdrop of a rapidly developing and rigidly stratified India in which greed and ambition is prized above humanity and a shadow class of servants and laborers buttresses a corrupt and wealthy few.  The story is not a new one as Adiga himself admits in his reference to a past generation of American writers but Adiga’s narrator is an important voice and one that is crucial to understanding modern India and the often overlooked price of rapid development. 

The White Tiger won the Booker Prize in 2008 and has been widely lauded by book reviewers on several continents but I will just add my small voice to those that have already spoken to say that this is well worth reading and in my opinion one of the most powerful books of this generation of post-colonial writers.

Amazon Link to The White Tiger here: http://www.amazon.com/White-Tiger-Novel-Aravind-Adiga/dp/1416562591

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