by Aravind Adiga
I have recently read “Last Man In Tower” which I found captivating and offered a glimpse into a world previously unknown to me. In “The White Tiger” I found myself drawn into an even more intriguing part of this other world.
This is an extraordinary rags to riches tale that explores the intriguing and often unsavoury world of Indian politics and business. We follow the tale of Balran Halwai as he seeks to fulfil his dream of becoming an entrepreneur.
Told in the form of a letter to the Chines Premier, Balram tells his own tale of how the son of a rickshaw-puller from a backwater village on the Ganges works his way up the ladder to run his own business in the booming city of Bangalore.
Balram is born into a world where his only future is as a beggar or a slave. His life is mapped out for him by his family who take him out of school so he can work alongside his brother in a small tea room. But Balram has other ideas, becoming the driver for one of the local “Landlords”.
He then finds himself driving his new master around the city of Deli where he discovers just how things are done. Seeing his opportunity he does what he has to do to escape.
This is a truly gripping tale from a gifted writer. The insight it offers into the expectations and opportunities offered to the two extremes of Indian society are as intriguing as the plot.