Posted by: koolwine | June 27, 2010

India: The White Tiger

Country: India

Local Name: India, Bharat (in Hindi)

Title: The White Tiger

Author: Aravind Adiga (Indian)

Published: 2008  Pages: 276

Acclaim: Winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize; a New York Times Bestseller

Time Period: Present day

Summary: An ambitious son of a rickshaw-puller obtains a job as a driver for an upper class businessman and makes the most of his new opportunities.
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Responses

  1. My personal opinion: India is a country you either love or you hate, it assaults your senses in so many ways that you either surrender or you retreat and book the next flight home never to come back again. I surrendered.

    And, my five cents: the cities of Bodhgaya, where the Buddha attained enlightenment and Sarnath, where he taught his first sermon. And Varanasi, the city of Ghats flanking the Ganges, a must see crowded city of opposites, bustling with activity where life and death are closely intertwined.

    If your interest is history during the period of the British rule in India historian William Dalrymple’s “White Moguls” is an engaging historical narrative of the political, social attitudes as well as the culture exchange that characterized the early part of the 18th century in what was then Hindustan –northern India- and the Deccan, to the south. Highly entertaining as well.

    For a modern view, description and history of the city of Delhi I suggest “City of Djinns”, by the same author. If you’ve been to Delhi visiting the bazaars, the Red Fort , the many temples gardens and museums you would want to go back and take with you your heavily annotated copy of this book and start all over again!

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    • Great travel and reading suggestions! Thank you!

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  2. I enjoyed reading the book very much. Thank you for bringing my awareness to it. I have always been fascinated by the “mystical” India – the gods, the legends, the traditions. This book brought to light for me the interactions of the castes and the injustices inherent within that system. I found his metaphor of the rooster cage intriguing. We raise chickens on our little farm and the analogy is apt. I, too, was sympathetic to the plight of the main character but was put off by his method to escape the rooster cage and the lack of concern for the consequences to his family.
    I think my first awareness of India was when the Beatles sought enlightenmient from a yogi. I have since read much about Hinduism and Buddhism, read histories of India, read the autobiography of Ghandi and other biographies about him. And, of course, have seen the movie “Ghandi” several times. Have also seen “Slumdog Millionaire”. (Which our Indian friends liked very much, too.) My wife and I love Indian food. It is our favorite. If I do say so myself I make a pretty mean chicken vindaloo. We have friends from the Punjab. She cooked for us one evening – it was heaven! While there are many elements of Indian culture that I like I don’t think I would like living there at all. It just seems like life is churning to rapidly for me there. Thanks, again. Rodney

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    • Thanks for sharing your own connections with India. My husband is a huge Beatles fan and told me about their relationship with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, so it made me smile to find out that you have that association as well. Am so glad to hear that The White Tiger intrigued you.

      You mentioned a book called Between Shades of Gray in your previous comment. I haven’t found a Lithuania book yet, so I will look that one up. If you’ve already begun reading, let me know if you recommend it.

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      • I finished “Between Shades of Gray” this weekend. It’s published by Philomel which as you probably know is a division of Penguin’s Young Readers Division. It was OK. It didn’t have much about Lithuania or it’s culture. It did mention the custom of their Christmas celebration but I don’t recall learning much more about Lithuania than that, aside from the fact of the deportations to Russia which is its subject. It’s told from the viewpoint of a 16 year old girl and feels like it is written for teenagers. While the sufferings of the deportations are great, the theme and its associations don’t get explored very deeply. It did keep my interest throughout, however. Made for a decent Sunday afternoon read.

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      • Bummer. I was hoping you’d found my Lithuania book for me, but it sounds like I should keep looking. I’ll still add it to my “Further Reading” page and keep it in mind just in case I can’t find anything better. Thanks for the follow up!

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