Paul’s review of The White Tiger > Likes and Comments

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message 1: by Rakhi (new)

Rakhi Dalal Even being an Indian, I couldn't relate to this.As you say, there was something missing.


message 2: by Riku (new)

Riku Sayuj clumsy. that would do for a review. definitely the worst booker novel I have read.


message 3: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala Rakhi wrote: "Even being an Indian, I couldn't relate to this.As you say, there was something missing."

Riku wrote: "clumsy. that would do for a review. definitely the worst booker novel I have read."

Glad I read it right - wasn't sure at the time.


message 4: by S.Ach (new)

S.Ach Sometimes when you don't like a Booker winner, you tend to doubt yourself more than the book and its author. But, then your heart wins.
I wonder what the jury saw in it!!


message 5: by Agnieszka (last edited Jan 25, 2014 09:37AM) (new)

Agnieszka It’s a relief to see that is not only me who felt so about this book.


message 6: by Shaun (last edited Jan 25, 2014 01:05PM) (new)

Shaun The poor are actually pretty much as bad as the rich; just lacking opportunity.

Reminds me of an Erskine Caldwell novel. He wrote Southern Gothic fiction (which I like), but that was a recurrent theme in his books. (I should note, a lot of people dislike his books because all of his characters are so depraved.)

Generally, in his novels the rich exploited the white poor who in turn happily exploited the blacks.

While I'm not that cynical, it made me think. It does seem, at least on some level, that there is some amount of truth to this.

In a similar way, it seemed to me that in 1984 George Orwell also suggested that there is a conspiracy to preserve the poor class/inequality. That the-powers-that-be would actually destroy surplus rather than risk losing the poorer class (the weaker class they could exploit). Same thing...rather cynical, but I remember it really made me think...because on some level there was that same ring of truth.

We do live in a time where we have the technology to cure many illness and end suffering for many, but don't all because somebody somewhere wants to make more money. And while lots of people don't agree with this, it happens. On the flip side, the financial incentive that dictates how technology is used is an incentive and probably has led to many cures/advances/progress in the first place.

But sometimes it seems that human nature favors the interests of the self over the interests of the many. One could even argue that on some level collaboration is a form of self-interest (because ultimately working together has advantages for the self and why we formed communities in the first place).

I agree, that the above statement taken from your review is very depressing. However, that said, the rest of nature has no conscience and is an opportunist. So, I guess the fact that man feels they not only should but can be different is kind of inspiring.


message 7: by Paul (new)

Paul I'm glad I wasn't the only one who couldn't engage with the book.
Shaun; I think I would go back to the comment about the rise of individualism; looking back over the last centuries I see the rise of the co-operative movement, trade unionism, feminism, civil rights, greenpeace ... I could go on. These are signs of hope, individualism linked to the sort of selfish capitalism we saw in the 1980s are opposed to this. This book illuminates one side; not the side I am on, You are right about the conspiracy Orwell highlighted and the battle continues. In relation to this book I am not sure whether this is meant to praise or satirise what Balram did.
There was a situation comedy in Britain in the 1960s where a left wing actor played a stereotypical sexist, racist and homophobic man. Unfortunately those whom he was satirising missed the point and the character became a hero in all the wrong ways.


message 8: by Shaun (last edited Jan 25, 2014 02:59PM) (new)

Shaun Paul wrote: "I'm glad I wasn't the only one who couldn't engage with the book.
Shaun; I think I would go back to the comment about the rise of individualism; looking back over the last centuries I see the rise..."


Ah...hard to believe that kind of attitude isn' t intended as satire...but like you said even satire doesn't necessarily reach its intended audience.


message 9: by Zanna (new)

Zanna Your review has made me re-reflect (thank you!) and I think I feel what you say, that there is a certain misanthropic pessimism in this book about the decline of community. This theme is more explicit in his next book Last Man in the Tower... there's an interrogation of what structures enable fellow-feeling and what structures destroy it (of course, neo-imperialist capitalism). Now I had better re-read and see how it ends! The aestheticist ending of White Tiger (final quote at end of my review) doesn't help much - I think fascism is essentially a *poetic* ideology (not to denigrate poetry, I mean aesthetic appreciation does not indicate commitment to justice) and while aestheticism is democratic in the sense that it is available to all, elites usually characterise other classes as philistines... I am rambling! I guess I'm saying that Adiga's intention seems good to me - but perhaps he belongs to the same unhopeful school of thought as Naipaul?


message 10: by Paul (new)

Paul I think you may be right about the intention; similar to the writer of Till Death do us Part; it's just that the intention can easily be lost!


message 11: by Zanna (new)

Zanna INDEED.


message 12: by Kalliope (new)

Kalliope I join your opinion, and rating, Paul.


message 13: by Samadrita (new)

Samadrita Considering the reactions of my Indian reader friends, I'll avoid this. I'm tired of poverty porn à la Slumdog Millionaire.


Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) I agree with your review; I read almost half of it, put it down and just don't feel like carrying on. I also got the feeling the author worked too hard to be funny, sort of sitting back and pointing at his character and saying, "Isn't he comical and clueless." No wonder I couldn't engage with him.


message 15: by Bernadette (new)

Bernadette I have to agree with your comment. Something was definitely missing.


message 16: by Selva (new)

Selva Subramanian Even I put it down the first time after reading a bit due to the , for lack of a better word, clumsy writing. It is not actually a satire. And when I completed it (during the 2nd time) I was stunned by the story. I agree the writing could have been better.


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