– 2018/139 – 48 years of books (2008)

White Tiger by Arvind Adiga

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I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for a while and I don’t really know what to say about this book.  Let me begin by saying that I ‘enjoyed’ reading it, it’s well written, it flows, it’s funny, it keeps you engaged… until you stop and realise that you shouldn’t be enjoying this, you should be appalled about the condition he lives in, his work, his prospects, the society around him.

Sigh.

It’s a rag to riches story, it’s a long letter, written on the course of a few nights from the slum dweller/driver/murderer/entrepenour to a Chinese statesman about to visit India, it’s about the state of a society that’s multilayered and complicated and messy and vibrant and frankly almost incomprehensible from out Western point of views.  Modern ways, ancient ways, traditions and modern technology, dog eats dog and the smarter win.  Sometimes.

Morality?  Good, evil, they’re all blurred and impossible to call.   It’s not so easy.

Does this book do a bit too much of India bashing? I’ve never been, I can’t say.  I’m inclined to say that a lot if not all what he mentions does go on.  Is Balram’s voice (he’s the main character who tells the story in first person) authentic or is he the voice of an educated outsider?  Indeed the ‘language’ was slated by some reviewer for not being ‘real’.

I don’t know.  It’s a good book, I’m glad I read it.  It stops you in your track and make you think that there are other realities out there and simply utter judgements about them is not enough.  It goes deeper than that.

 

The list so far:

2018   Mr Hanckock and the mermaid

2017 – Magari domain resto (Lorenzo Maroni)

2016 – Upstream (Mary Oliver)

2015   –  Reasons to stay alive (Matt Haig)

2014 – Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer)

2013 – Careless people (Sarah Churchwell)

2012 – Wonder

2011 – The Paris Wife (Paula McLain)

2010

2009 – Let the great world spin (Colum McCann)

2008 – The White Tiger (Aravind Adiga)

2007

2006

2005 – Never let me go (Kazuo Ishiguro)

2004

2003

2002 – Everything is illuminated (Jonathan Safran Foer)

2001 – American Gods (Nail Gainman)

2000 – Coram Boy (Jamila Gavin)

1999

1998

1997 – Paradise (Toni Morrison)

1996 – Wilfred and Eileen (Jonathan Smith)

1995

1994

1993

1992

1991- Regeneration (Pat Barker)

1990

1989 – Like water to chocolate (Laura Esquivel)

1988

1987 – Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami)

1986

1985­ – Oranges are not the only fruit (Jeanette Winterson)

1984

1983 –  Heartburn (Nora Ephron)

1982  – The colour purple (Alice Walker)

1981

1980 – Emmeline (Judith Rossiter)

1979– The bloody chamber (Angela Carter)

1978

1977

1976

1975

1974

1973

1972

1971

1970

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