Monday, September 28, 2009
Rating : 4.5/5
Number of Pages : 321
Format : Fiction Novel
Reason for Reading : Library reading group
Balram Halwai is not the first name he has used, but it is the one he was given in school. He prefers to be known as The White Tiger, a rare creature that is born only once in a generation. He feels he is rare creature himself, one who has thrown off his rich master and become master of his own destiny. He is born a poor boy, the son of a rickshaw-puller and manages to become a driver after being yanked out of school and initally working in a tea room. This is a real turning point for him as things turn out.
He begins as the second driver but soon uses his wits to progress further up the career ladder. He loves his master who treats him well (for the most part), but soon realises when he accompanies him to Deli that he will never gain the riches and freedom he has. He decides to take his destiny into his own hands, doing the unthinkable.
I thought this was excellent and well deserving of the 2008 Man Booker Prize. It's a very sad, moving story that often has the reader grimacing, yet it is told in a very light hearted manner making the negative parts more easy to swallow. I think it is this that makes it so good, that the bad elements don't bog you down and depress you so much. You sympathise with Balram and I felt I could understand what he did (although not condone it). Recommended.