The White Tiger won the Man Booker Award in the year 2008… it has been hailed as a masterpiece of contemporary Indian English literature and critics and their critique might have their reasons (and, possibly, compulsions) to do so. However, for a common reader, what messages does this novel have? What do you think of it when you read the first few chapters and what would you say about it if you have finished reading it already… maybe many years ago?
Aravind Adiga has been defined as an enigma for Indian English literature in a wonderful article on him by The Indian Authors, the website which profiles Indians who write in any language. Though enigma might not justify the talent and qualities that Adiga brings into his literature, it would certainly justify, and very justly so, the euphoria that his first work created among the intellectual readers in India and the UK and the US. After his first work, remarkably so, Adiga’s charm almost vanished and he could not make anything as huge as his debut publication. And this falling short of his own talent can certainly be justified by calling him an enigma for Indian English literature.
We are discussing Adiga’s notable work, The White Tiger, and possible reasons to read the same… as well as reasons for not reading this masterpiece. And below, I will begin with my reasons for both the conclusions:
- You can read it because it will challenge you with the narrative that has been decorated with imagery, metaphors and symbolism enticing your intelligentsia and propelling it to execute at a higher level.
- Adiga’s The White Tiger is written in contemporary English. It does not use too sophisticated language that we might find in Tharoor’s books or that of Ghosh.
- The White Tiger might trigger your political affiliations too much and thus, it will teach you how to control your anger when someone pricks you to indulge in a debate (mostly unnecessary).
- The White Tiger has won the Man Booker Prize… and as the logic for many say, that’s the reason enough to read it. However, it is as important as to be put on number four on this list. Yes, to understand why a particular title might have won an award as bigger as this, you might consider reading that piece. Therefore, you can read Adiga’s The White Tiger to understand why it won the award. However, it might not lead you to the conclusion.
Reasons not to read The White Tiger:
- This novel might taste your patience too much. If you are not interested just by the introduction, your time with this work might be harsh on you.
- The novel has a dull storyline and you might predict it… almost… after a few episodes with the protagonist.
- It highlights the blockage that might be clogging all your dirt from going away via the drainage, it does not tell you how to reach and rectify the same.
- It has a biased stance on many things that are Indian and India in general.
So, this was my take on Adiga’s debut work and I am sure you will make your decision wisely. Generally, you might consider reading it. All the best!
Madhav for Active Reader, the book blog