The White Tiger is a novel of fiction written by the Indian Author Aravind Adiga and was published in the year 2008. It falls into the genre of ‘dark comedy’. The novel is titled so after the nickname of its protagonist Balram, who according to the education inspector is the smartest boy in the village. His uniqueness earns him the name ‘white tiger’, as it is a unique animal.
A stunning first-person narrative of a small town commoner, The White Tiger is no ordinary story. It is a tale of the journey of an under-educated, poor young man from the ‘darkness’ of rural India to the ‘light’ of India, which is an escalating global economy. On the surface, it is a monologue delivered by a certain Balram Halwai, who, after breaking free from the shackles of a future that offered nothing but doom, becomes a taxi driver to a certain Mr. Ashok in the ‘big city’. It is the story of a man who is made to plunge into a parallel universe of glitz, glamour, and fame, the likes of which he thought never existed. The book talks about a man who witnesses himself change and watches his ambitions soar to vaulting heights.
And then there’s cold blooded murder.
However, Adiga’s aim is not just to entertain, but also to educate, and here lies the uncensored account of an India that is seldom talked of. Class disparity in a supposedly ‘developing’ India, the servant-employer (rather ‘master’) relationship, widespread corruption, startling poverty, and religious identities are the issues addressed here by an observer who is cynical, critical, and who has seen it all.
The White Tiger, Adiga’s debut novel, won The Man Booker Prize in the year 2008, the very year it was published.
Soon as the book came out, it was immediately well received by the critics, authors and general public. John Hart, the producer of the movie The Revolutionary Road, has acquired the rights for the screen adaptation of the book, and it is all set to be made into a movie.