Aug 30, 2011

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Winner of the Man Booker Prize for 2008): Book Review

The First Edition Cover
‘The White Tiger’ is a compelling story compellingly told. It picks up, from the unyieldingly vast socio-political mosaic of India, a fragment that has more-often-than-not been airbrushed beyond recognition in the popular imagination and sidestepped, on account of moral inconvenience, by the  mainstream cultural commentators.

In his debut novel Aravind Adiga anatomizes many of the subterranean sociological contradictions of the ‘rooster coop’ that is India (for most of its citizens anyway) in a hard-hitting mind-expanding manner. 

He renders readily comprehensible, the fabricated made-for-television character of the ‘India Emerging’ narrative that has painstakingly been manufactured, propagated and re-enforced in the cultural consciousness of urban middle class India (and indeed in the minds of media reportage-dependent international ‘India Observers’).

One can’t help but suspect that Adiga had in mind to subtly embody a revolutionary manifesto for the subalterns and the oppressed of India in this book. The whole book is suffused with philosophical irony and replete with tragicomic references to the daily subjugations that the countless Indian underclasses are inflicted with, as a matter of culturally sanctioned custom.