White Tiger shines bright in the darkness

The White Tiger entertains and gives pause for thought. This is a good combination.

The White Tiger entertains and gives pause for thought. This is a good combination.

The plot centres on Balram Halwai, a labourer born and raised in a small village controlled by crooked and powerful landlords.

The village is located in "The Darkness", a particularly backward region of India.

Balram is eventually taken to Delhi as a driver for one of the landlord's westernised sons, Ashok.

Through the letters of a self-made Indian entrepreneur to a dominant political figure in China, we witness the tragic yet eye-opening story of human struggle for dignity and survival.

With its fast pace and fun use of language, every tiny detail is a gem that you would have to experience for yourself.

This novel reminds us that there is so much more work we have to do as a united human race - the constant and ultimate drive to let every human live like a human.

Adiga gives us Balram's story via seven letters to the Chinese prime minister who, Balram has decided, must be told the truth about India before a forthcoming state visit.

Balram tells of Delhi's servants, who live in rotting basements below the glass apartment blocks that are home to their employers.

He tells of how Ashok's family bribe government ministers, and how national elections are rigged.

Ashok is forever expressing guilt over Balram's treatment, but his fine words never come to anything.

It's a thrilling ride through a rising global power; a place where we learn the brutality of the modern city is compounded by that of age-old tradition.

"In the old days there were one thousand castes and destinies in India," says Balram.

"These days there are two castes: Men with Big Bellies and Men with Small Bellies."