Aravind Adiga in the New York Times reads thus --
"Balram Halwai, the narrator of Aravind Adiga's first novel, "The
White Tiger," is a modern Indian hero. In a country inebriated by its
newfound economic prowess, he is a successful entrepreneur, a
self-made man who has risen on the back of India's much-vaunted
technology industry. In a nation proudly shedding a history of poverty
and underdevelopment, he represents, as he himself says, "tomorrow."
Balram's triumphal narrative, framed somewhat inexplicably as a letter
to the visiting Chinese premier, unfurls over seven days and nights in
Bangalore.It's a rather more complicated story than Balram initially
lets on. Before moving to Bangalore, he was a driver for the
weak-willed son of a feudal landlord. One rainy day in Delhi, he
crushed the skull of his employer and stole a bag containing a large
amount of money, capital that financed his Bangalore taxi business.
That business — ferrying technology workers to and from their jobs —
depends, in turn, on keeping the police happy with the occasional
As a parable of the new India, then, Balram's tale has a distinctly
macabre twist. He is not (or not only) an entrepreneur but a roguish
criminal with a remarkable capacity for self-justification. Likewise,
the background against which he operates is not just a resurgent
economy and nation but a landscape of corruption, inequality and
poverty. In some of the book's more convincing passages, Balram
describes his family's life in "the Darkness," a region deep in the
heartland marked by medieval hardship, where brutal landlords hold
sway, children are pulled out of school into indentured servitude and
elections are routinely bought and sold.
This grim world is far removed from the glossy images of Bollywood
stars and technology entrepreneurs that have been displacing earlier
(and equally clichéd) Indian stereotypes featuring yoga and
spirituality. It is not a world that rich urban Indians like to see."
Read the full review at--