Re: The White Tiger
Posted by Steven on 13/9/2011, 10:53:59, in reply to "Re: The White Tiger"
There really isn't an issue with spoilers in this novel, so perhaps we can proceed with discussion even if Sterling and Joffre are still reading. |
I agree with Guillermo that there isn't anything remarkable about this novel in the literary sense, except that the author finds a way to tell a very tragic and hopeless story in a jocular manner.
Taken individually, the things Balram tells us about poverty, class division, voter fraud, political corruption, and police corruption in India shouldn't be surprising. I wonder, though, if they are as pervasive as he implies. Are all police corrupt? Are all elections rigged? Is the label we often hear of "the world's biggest democracy" a complete lie?
Two things about his story, though, really surprised and depressed me. First, is the ineffectual education system with the useless teacher asleep most of the time. Even students who are able and willing and have supportive families have no chance at a decent education in such an environment.
The other item was that employers hold their employees' families as hostages, in a sense, to guarantee subservience. They are able, with impunity, to persecute the family if an employee becomes a troublemaker. Of capitalism's many ills, this sounds like the blackest.
Balram doesn't seek to cast blame for the system being as it is, does he? Not on the British or the Americans, which is somewhat refreshing.
: I really really liked this book, I loved it. I agree it
: was sad and depressing, and it gave a very hopeless,
: bleak picture of future of India, but at the same
: time, as Steven says, it was bold and only these bold
: statements can free the people from the rooster coop.
: More later,
: --Previous Message--
: Funny, I'm just back in my office after a (very) late
: lunch, and I was talking with a friend about Mexico's
: corruption. I quoted "The White Tiger" as an
: example of corruption being endemic not only in Mexico
: but in most of the world, putting as an example
: "The White Tiger". I don't think it is an
: extraordinary piece of literature, in aesthetic terms,
: but it certainly is a very well written testimony of
: corruption and the harmful way in which it pollutes
: otherwise well-meaning people. It is very good at
: being very funny and very sad at the same time.
: Actually, it depressed me, as it seems to imply
: honesty and cleanliness in public conduct is an
: exception, and a rare one at that, rather than the
: rule. It is gruesome and very honest (ha).
: --Previous Message--
: I finished last night. I know Lale has already read
: how about everyone else?
: I would describe it, not only as an enjoyable book,
: but as an important one because of the bold statement
: it makes about conditions in today's India.