Saturday, July 13, 2013

The White Tiger : a bit unreal, contradictory. Okay.

The White TigerThe White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The tone of the novel is a bit contradictory. An example : On one hand, the protagonist of the story calls himself a 'half-baked' Indian, like millions of others, who are complicit in their own exploitation, are unaware of the ways of the world and are actually 'boys' in the bodies of full grown 'men'. but this self awareness itself contradicts the claim. I mean you can't be half baked and still be aware that you are.
Also there seems to be a confusion whether the protagonist is speaking from his point of view or the author through him, at many places. So, when the narrator is constantly showing us the parts of India which scream out " Yuck Yuck! this is India ", you start feeling twitchy wondering whether this is the person from the lowest layer of the Indian society, venting out his anger or the author who wants to show the supposedly 'elite' readers, the 'real' society. If it's the former case, you can justify the deliberate exaggeration of the filthiness, but if it's the latter, then it becomes a little problematic. But you can never know for sure, for you never understand whose voice you are listening. Also some portions remind one of the bollywood potboilers of 70's and 80's.

Still overall it is an interesting novel and an enjoyable one with no heavy handing or patronizing the reader and with some really witty and powerful insights into the world of the oppressed. And also bereft of any moral underpinnings.

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