The White Tiger is the debut novel by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It was first published in 2008 and won the 40th Man Booker Prize in the same year. he novel provides a darkly humorous perspective of India’s class struggle in a globalized world as told through a retrospective narration from Balram Halwai, a village boy.
In detailing Balram’s journey first to Delhi, where he works as a chauffeur to a rich landlord, and then to Bangalore, the place to which he flees after killing his master and stealing his money, the novel examines issues of religion, caste, loyalty, corruption and poverty in India. Ultimately, Balram transcends his sweet-maker caste and becomes a successful entrepreneur, establishing his own taxi service. In a nation proudly shedding a history of poverty and underdevelopment, he represents, as he himself says, “tomorrow.”
The novel has been well-received, making the New York Times bestseller list in addition to winning the Man Booker Prize. Aravind Adiga, 33 at the time, was the second youngest writer as well as the fourth debut writer to win the prize in 2008.Adiga says his novel “attempt[s] to catch the voice of the men you meet as you travel through India — the voice of the colossal underclass.”According to Adiga, the exigence for The White Tiger was to capture the unspoken voice of people from “the Darkness” – the impoverished areas of rural India, and he “wanted to do so without sentimentality or portraying them as mirthless humorless weaklings as they are usually.