Book Club…

June 16, 2009

The first book is: The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga

The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
The White Tiger- Aravind Adiga

With only a two week period to read this book (following Jordan’s invite to be the sole male member of a women-only book club), I devoured this book. Within the first day of picking up The White Tiger, I was lured in by Adiga’s gritty, straight-forward prose. Told through the first person, Adiga’s “protagonist” immediatedly polarizes his readers with the recounting of a murder he committed, turning this ambitious hero into a do-what-it-takes, social-climbing anti-hero. As with many books and movies using this technique, once the ball is dropped, the remaining part of the novel seeks to build up to that point and give it context. In Adiga’s book, he is not asking us whether the murder was ok. To his character, it is absolute necessity. Instead, the novel throws so many justifications your way that you are left wondering if you would have committed it yourself. Do conditions make a man’s decisions or is there always a choice? Irrelevant, the main character would say.

Utilizing the frame of letter writing (the story is compiled for the benefit of a visiting official from China, to show him about the real India) allows the story to be more natural and life-like. It also makes the main character more difficult to dissect and interpret. Can you pass judgment on what you hear about a person from that person’s own mouth? Part of the entertainment of this novel is seeing the character slip into the flaw-area and out again. Will he reveal too much?

Read it and you shall see.

Update: The book club met on June 9th to discuss The White Tiger. All enjoyed the book, the wine, and the somewhat Indian-inspired meal that accompanied it. Thoughts were: Is this the century of “the brown man and the yellow man”? Silly question, is the concensus. Does one’s life experience give them an excuse for behavior? Mixed opinion.

Next month’s book: Zenzele: A Letter for My Daughter by J. Nozipo Maraire

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