Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger

Meh.

No, actually it was pretty good, Aravind Adiga's Booker-winning novel The White Tiger. I was gripped, excited, thrilled, etc. Except when I put it down, because I wasn't all that excited to pick it up again. And once I'd finished, I was ready for something else, and it's almost entirely slipped my mind only a few days after having completed it. I don't mind that it won the Booker, because as barely a half-assed reviewer, I haven't read the other nominees, and I'm not sure what else should have been nominated, but I admit that I kept thinking, "Really? This was the best choice?"

Here's the thing. It's closer in feel to Slumdog Millionaire than to anything by Salman Rushdie, and that's what I want to read when I'm thinking about India. I mean, Rohinton Mistry is a hell of a writer, and Adiga's a reasonably good competitor and comparison for Mistry, but neither of them compares to Rushdie. Maybe Adiga will get there, I don't know. This is his first novel, after all, and his "book club edition" interview includes the great good remark that he thinks of most business writing as "bullshit," so he's bright considering that he spent several years as a business writer.

But given enough time to think over past years, I'm confident I could think of at least a dozen non-nominated Booker-eligible novels I prefer to this one. "Score another one for Danny Boyle," I'd say, if it didn't sound so petty/unfair....

Comments

A_N_Nanda said…
Hi Richard,
I too read this book of Adiga and liked it. It's a book of just the right length and a slow reader like me would have to make no big effort to read this. However I felt the book has a lot of stereotypes. I've posted a small write-up about how I felt reading the book, in case you like to drop by my blog.

Oh yes, your assessment about the prospect of Adiga's writing sounds correct.

Thanks
Nanda
http://ramblingnanda.blogspot.com

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