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The White Tiger

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  144,943 ratings  ·  9,423 reviews
Introducing a major literary talent, The White Tiger offers a story of coruscating wit, blistering suspense, and questionable morality, told by the most volatile, captivating, and utterly inimitable narrator that this millennium has yet seen.

Balram Halwai is a complicated man. Servant. Philosopher. Entrepreneur. Murderer. Over the course of seven nights, by the scattered
...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published 2008 by Free Press
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Rahul Anand There is one incident in the book,when he explains about Rooster Coop. One can easily relate a Rooster Coop to a student's daily monotonous life i.e.…moreThere is one incident in the book,when he explains about Rooster Coop. One can easily relate a Rooster Coop to a student's daily monotonous life i.e. doing an engineering and then an MBA. This is what almost 95% (unverified) of us do. But the people who break this Rooster Coop, become a successful entrepreneur. History has umpteen examples of entrepreneurs who have always done things different from the Aam Aadmi.(less)
Ksv
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3.73  · 
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 ·  144,943 ratings  ·  9,423 reviews


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Nandakishore Varma
This review contains what may be spoilers. Even though I do not think it will spoil your reading experience, I am putting the warning here because one reader pointed it out.

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Before I begin my review, a statutory warning to all my patriotic Indian brothers and sisters... this is India-bashing, large scale. If you are the sort of person who gets all worked up when any aspect of India is criticised, this book is not for you.

That said, Arvind Adiga bashes India w
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Will Byrnes
Dec 23, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
They remain slaves because they can’t see what is beautiful in this world. That’s the truest thing anyone said…Even as a boy I could see what was beautiful in the world: I was destined not to stay a slave.
The White Tiger is a grim, biting, unsubtle look at 21st Century India, stuck in the mire of a corrupt, cynical past, and debauching and slaughtering its way into a corrupt and cynical future, told by a working class fellow who, through ambition, intelligence, and a willingness to be utterly
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Pouting Always
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I expected going into this book but it wasn't really this. The book was very tongue in cheek and I could completely sympathize with our narrator even at the end. The idealistic part of me was a little horrified and upset by a lot of it but I think it's pretty realistic and really made me think about the servant/master dynamic in a way I hadn't considered before. I'm just torn about whether to rate it four stars or five because the ending felt a little anticlimactic but at the s ...more
Jwala
Dec 11, 2008 rated it liked it
Well the stories of murderers and psychopaths are generally like cakes to most of us(and i am no exception). I either love such protagonists or hate them whole-heartedly. Coming to Balaram, the situation is different. I had never felt anything for him even after reading 300 pages. I didn’t even hate him and I was completely indifferent towards him mainly because I felt that his character is artificial and inconsistent.
Every time I read a cynical work or a satire I feel that I have become a bit
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Ahmad Sharabiani
The White Tiger, Aravind Adig
The White Tiger is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It was first published in 2008 and won the 40th Man Booker Prize in the same year. The novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy. In detailing Balram's journey first to Delhi, where he works as a chauffeur to a rich landlord, and then to Bangalore, the place to which he flees
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Paul Bryant
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: india, novels
The perfect companion piece to Slumdog Millionaire, and if you didn't like that movie, you won't like this book for the same reasons. It's a no-nonsense bulldozing mordant splenetic jackhammer of a story written as a tough slangy 300 page fast-reading monologue. It's a novel of information, not art. It tells you all about modern India with a traditional rags-to-riches fable. Our hero murders his employer unapologetically, and that's how he gets his riches. This is not rocket science. This is sma ...more
Mark
May 06, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fabian
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
The "White Tiger of Bangalore" is cunning, fast & intrepid-- the perfect symbol for this perfect novel that reminds the reader of characters like Scarface & friends-- antiheroes all. Adiga's yarn is utterly engrossing; it's a mystery unraveled in the purest tradition of classic storytelling. It has that picaresque quality (which is one of the hardest tricks for a novelist to pull off, truly, really) needed to balance out all the heaviness of a constant train of melancholic events (violen ...more
Peter
Feb 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary-fiction
Ambition
The White Tiger is a contemporary fictional account of ambition and the options available to a person in the rigid and harsh Indian class-based society, which is administered through unbridled corruption.

Aravind Adiga arrived with the wave of fantastic Indian authors providing insights into their country and the restraints that shackle them to their caste system. As India transitions from a third world country to a world leader in science and technology output, it is struggling to mode
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Praveen
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
To begin with, let me tell you first, of my association with this novel. I had never finished any contemporary novel, to put it bluntly, Who cares!..was my attitude towards the contemporary writers, by the time I had bought this novel.

This was my first ever contemporary novel, mainly of an Indian origin author, which I read complete. This had got that years Booker and was getting highlighted in the media. I used to think by that time that writers, worthy of reading, were only those, who were eit
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The Book Whisperer (aka Boof)
Jan 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) by: Christmas present
I have just this minute finished this book and I can already tell that it will be one of those books that I will think about often. It's not a book whose plot I can easily explain, or a book that I can easily fit into a particular genre on my shelves, but my God did it pack a powerful punch. I have hardly been able to put it down between sittings.

The books is narrated via a letter from Balram Halwai, a slum-dweller-turned-driver-turned-murderer-turned-entrepreneur, to the Chinese President befor
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Rupert
May 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Best contemporary novel I've read this year. Antidote for the pastel lyricism of most mainstream novels coming out of India and a wonderful social satire with savage bit. Kind of like Terry Southern's best work if he hadn't been all weeded up and goofy.
An image from it that sticks with me is how Ghandi's image gets appropriated by the current Indian bureaucracy. Whenever the narrator encounters the hanging Ghandi portrait he sees it as a symbol of "bribes work here, corruption at work". Perhap
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Tea Jovanović
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I've read this book while it was still unpublished manuscript and fell in love immediately... Because it gave me the same pleasure as Vikas Swarup's Q&A...
Riku Sayuj
Feb 04, 2011 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Riku by: Puneet Raheja
Why would a book like this win any award whatsoever? Sigh...
Lynda
"If we were in India now, there would be servants standing in the corners of this room and I wouldn't notice them. That is what my society is like, that is what the divide is like."--Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger, The Man Booker Prize winner of 2008, has unsettled critics and readers alike. It is a provocative book as it paints an unflattering portrait of India as a society racked by corruption and servitude, exposing the country's dark side. This grim world is far removed from the glossy images
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Rowena
Dec 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Rowena by: Dorcas
This was a great, darkly humorous book a friend recommended to me stating that it was her favourite book of 2012. I can definitely see why.

In this novel we find Balram Halwai, a sweetmaker from a small Indian village. He is from a low caste and finds a job working as a servant/driver to a rich Indian man. Halwai eventually escapes from his caste in a very unconventional way; by killing his boss. He then narrates his actions to the Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, whom he admires greatly.

This book
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Wen
Feb 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
I quite enjoyed the book. I was engaged cover-to-cover; it opened my eyes to much of the Indian culture, including paan chewing, Rickshaw pulling, and the closeness of extended families. It even gave me a brief visual tour of Delhi, where most of the story happened.
The book particularly portrayed the darker side of the booming India from the perspective of socially and economically disadvantaged population. I naturally would give more credence to the local author, but 10 years have passed since
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Paul
Jan 25, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: indian-novels
It’s taken me a while to decide how I feel about this one, which is probably an indication that I didn’t really engage with the book.
The novel is written in the first person and is essentially epistolary (written to the Chinese leader; I found this way of presentation quite clumsy). It concerns Balram Halwai who is brought up in poverty in a small village, son of a rickshaw driver who dies from TB. Balram’s journey takes him from the village and menial jobs, to the job of driver-cum-servant for
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Anthony
Dec 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
I was travelling one evening by train from Yeovil Junction in Somerset to Woking in Surrey and noticed that one of the passengers, a woman with long beautiful curly hair, was buried in 'The White Tiger'. On English trains you have a corridor opposite the toilets, also used for storing bicyles on the journey, where there are also two or three collapsible and uncomfortable seats. It is rather noisy but this was where the girl with curly hair was sitting and for the two hours of the journey she bar ...more
Jeff
Mar 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who enjoyed Hamid's "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" and Pears' "The Portrait"
A stunning first person narrative about a self-proclaimed murderer and entrepreneur. Balram Halwai, the complex narrator of the book, describes, in an obsessive, single-focued, unapologetic letter, his journey out of poverty from the Indian Darkness. It is a story about ambition, corruption, and power -- an amazing story about how one person in a country of servitude escapes his own station to become a man. Is he a visionary? Is he an iconoclast? Is he an amoral monster? The reader goes on a ver ...more
Umut Reviews
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fab read. I can't recommend it enough. Very engaging writing with dark humour displaying India's realities about the big inequality in the society.
MUST read!
Archit Ojha
Mar 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-we-own


Simply Kickass

Deserving of the accolades.

Full review to come.
Jessica
Postcolonial lite. I feel like this is what I'm supposed to be reading while I listen to MIA and rock last season's mirrored "ethnic chic" from Urban Outfitters. To show that, you know, I'm a citizen of the world, and a really hip westerner who gets the shifting forces of globalization.... did I feel a bit pandered to? I did feel a bit pandered to. Just a bit, now. Oh, this book was okay.

Fine, actually it was an entertaining and engaging rags-to-riches story about injustice and inequality in a c
...more
Meike
Jul 17, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: india, 2017-read
MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2008 // Don't let the book's cover fool you: Aravind Adiga's "The White Tiger" is an unfaltering, angry critique of modern Indian society. There's nothing playful and cute here, and the blurb's choice of words, particularly "mischief" and "endearing", are absolutely out of place.

The novel's protagonist Balram, a poor countryboy, escapes his miserable, degrading life as a servant by becoming a murderer and a thief, and goes on to succeed as a businessman in Bangalore (no spoiler
...more
Whitaker
May 20, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Whitaker by: Brad Simkulet
I don't know how many people on Goodreads have live-in servants. For those living in the West, I suspect very few if any. That peculiar institution has died out there, and most would now find it intrusive and demeaning. The institution is, however, quite alive and well in many parts of Asia where maids--usually from the Philippines, Sri Lanka or Indonesia--form part of the family nucleus. I do say "family nucleus" because a lucky or successful maid will insinuate herself into the family such tha ...more
Cynthia
May 30, 2008 rated it really liked it
This is the kind of book that many people try to write and few succeed at. The White Tiger is an awesome book and anyone who is even remotely interested in India will enjoy it. The author is a former Time magazine writer and the first great thing he accomplishes is painting an effortless picture of modern India, from its poorest slums to the wealthier areas where more Westernized Indians make a living doing computer and telephone work for American companies (and then go spend their salaries at s ...more
Maxwell
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was ok
I don't have strong positive or negative feelings about this. I listened to the audiobook over the course of a few days, and while the narrator was good and the writing was at times funny and satirical, it left me sort of uninterested. I could imagine this being a good book to dive into and analyze in a class setting, but as a personal read I didn't find it very memorable. 2.5 stars
PorshaJo
Jul 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: challengereads
I have had this book on my shelf for a few years to read and finally decided to pick it up. I have a fascination with India - watching movies about India and reading books taking place in India. I really enjoyed reading this book, though at times I found it difficult to continue. The story of how the poor live in India is heartbreaking and sometimes hard to understand. I look forward to reading more from Aravind Adiga.
Jennifer (aka EM)
Mar 06, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer (aka EM) by: LFPC
The central character and narrator of this novel -- Balram, the "White Tiger" -- is like an Indian Raskolnikov without the guilt. Unlike Dostoevsky's prototypical anti-hero, however, Balram's crime is founded on a morality and world view we can actually root for (well, maybe that's my own morality and world view showing through. Still.)

This novel is at once heart-wrenching, disgust-provoking and deeply satirical (also very, very funny). It seethes with anger and conveys well -- primarily throug
...more
Kinga
Apr 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
There was a time when I stopped reading Indian novels. I just couldn’t read another sari&curry story about women and all their problems. All these books started to blend in my head into one behemoth of a novel.
So when I read on the back of ‘White Tiger’ that ‘unlike almost another Indian novel you might have read in recent years, this page-turner offers a completely bald, angry, unadorned portrait of the country as seen from the bottom of the heap; there’s not a sniff a saffron or a swirl of
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The Journey to success! 2 14 Mar 13, 2019 07:47PM  
Around the Year i...: The White Tiger, by Aravind Adiga 1 12 Oct 08, 2018 06:56PM  
Geo-Diversity Boo...: MARCH 2018: India 37 13 Apr 15, 2018 01:30PM  
مقهى بوكر: النمر الأبيض - آرفيند آديغا 46 447 Mar 01, 2018 11:58PM  
ManBookering: February Group Read (2018) - The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga 72 164 Feb 28, 2018 10:59AM  
Reading 1001: The White Tiger 4 15 Dec 08, 2017 07:19PM  

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Aravind Adiga was born in 1974 in Madras (now called Chennai), and grew up in Mangalore in the south of India. He was educated at Columbia University in New York and Magdalen College, Oxford. His articles have appeared in publications such as The New Yorker, the Sunday Times, the Financial Times, and the Times of India. His debut novel, The White Tiger, won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 2008 ...more
“See, the poor dream all their lives of getting enough to eat and looking like the rich. And what do the rich dream of?? Losing weight and looking like the poor.” 229 likes
“I was looking for the key for years
But the door was always open”
204 likes
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