The White Tiger is one of those books whose protagonist you know you will never forget. Munna alias Balram Halwai tells the story of his bloody journey, from the class of have-nots to becoming one of the have-alls in modern India. His life begins in the Darkness, the India of an entrenched caste system, non-existent fundamental rights and blood sucking landlords. Using his smarts he breaks out of the cyclical enslavement of his family and becomes a driver for a US-returned babu in Delhi. In time he realizes that he has only changed places and that he is still an enslaved servant to new masters in the modern Indian city. Seeing no natural end to this misery, he chances a brutal murder to escape the coop and settles down to business in the outsourcing industry in Bangalore.
This book is very gripping, simple in its telling, but very savage and dark in its honest depiction of the other India. Munna's life is sad, horrific and intriguing at every turn. One has seen, read or heard about the instances that bleed out from every page here. Aravind Adiga uses the animal kingdom to great effect in the book. Animal metaphors abound from the title down to every character and detail in this book. You either eat another or get eaten. Poverty, class, corruption, inequality, everything is captured in such depictions. The book is full of immensely quotable sections. You could see any thing that outrages you in Indian news and pull out a quote from the book that aptly matches it. Politics, poverty, traffic, deaths, pollution, apathy, you name it, it is there. The White Tiger is essentially one of the most Indian of books and a great disturbing read.