White Tiger by Aravind Adiga is the compelling story of an Indian man trying to break free of societal chains and expectations. Balram Halwai lived in the Darkness, a small village, in India under the thumb of his grandmother and the rules of his culture, until he is hired as the driver for a landlord who brings him into the Light of Delhi. The story is told through a letter Balram is writing to a Chinese official to show him entrepreneurial spirit. Balram is intelligent, which gains him the nickname White Tiger in his home town, but because of his family name and no education, he can expect nothing greater than being a virtual slave to his boss. He has dreams of something, anything different than the life laid out in front of him, but they only begin to take root when his boss changes. As long as his boss is honorable in his actions to Balram, he can accept his lot in life, but when the man starts abusing him and sleeping with prostitutes, Balram sees that he is just as corrupt as the rest of the system and decides to break free, utilizing violence to do so. Despite Balram's deplorable behavior, you can't help but root for him and want him to break the cycle of back-breaking labor and destitute poverty that has followed his family for generations. He's a funny narrator whose descriptions of both monetary and moral poverty alternately make you laugh and cry. Adiga is a fresh voice and a stellar writer.
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