tirsdag 20. januar 2009

On The White Tiger.

or "And now to something completly different".

It was given to me as christmas present - when I got it I put it in the bottom of my pile of "reading focus" (I tend to read several books at the same time, in some order of importance or scale them due to how interesting they seem), but as I had to read a bit to see what I could expect.. And I ended up ignoring all the other books and finished this instead. Heh.

Anyway, it's a book by Indian author Aravind Adiga. It has won some big awards supposedly, and I have seen it mentioned in several news articles.. I am not sure whether it's because it is well written (by all accounts it is) or if it has turned so popular or acclaimed due to the content.

The book is about an Indian entrepeneur, where he is telling his life story from his beggings in the Darkness (rural inland India if I got it right) and a life of poverty, menial tasks and so on, and how he ended up becoming a big shot in Bangalore. It is styled as a letter, from the protagonist Balram Halwai, to the chinese premiere, as Halwai has heard on the radio the minister is visiting India wanting to pick up a few things about entrepeneurs, and Halwai wanting to give him a "real" story and not the hogwash the politicans would most likely serve him.

When I started reading it, I got a feeling I had read something similiar before.. Roughly halfway through, I remembered; the whole book felt like a Chuck Palahniuk book, but instead of weird westerner fates, it's a journey partway through the difference between the wealthy and the poor in India, and development of pretty dark characters, it's hardly a positive thing in the whole book. Like it always is with me and short books, and considering how much the author is gaping over, both parts of the book seems a bit lackluster. You get small pieces of info on loads of aspects of Indian culture (and as an ignorant westerner, it ends up being kinda hard to understand what is the protagonist's grim views of things, or well, facts) and some kind of character development, like the early reveleation of how the protagonist murders one of his bosses, and getting to know why underway, and suchlike. After finishing the book, the first thing I thought was "way too short", as the ignorant I'd like to know a bit more about all the journey through Indian life bits, and as for the characters it went way too fast, so it felt like I didn't get to know the "I" enough. Not to mention NOONE in the book seemed to have a very positive outlook on anything, which seemed a bit.. Far fetched.

That being said, it was very well written, and even though the Norwegian translation had some weird things about it (amongst them my usual typo stuff of some words missing in sentences here and there, but I just found it ironic that they show up in such places too) how it was written was pretty much a pageturner by itself. In stark contrast to say, The Company, it was loaded with stuff it was worthwhile reading about, so I never ended up thinking "OH GET ON WITH IT" or "DEAR GOD IS HE STARTING TO GO INDEPT ABOUT THIS AGAIN" and the like.

All in all a good read, even for someone whose main interest is fantasy books. But for someone like me, it's as far from my world as a fantasy book is anyway.

Rated: 8/10

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