The White Tiger

By Aravind Adiga,

Book cover of The White Tiger

Book description


Balram Halwai is the White Tiger - the smartest boy in his village. His family is too poor for him to afford for him to finish school and he has to work in a teashop, breaking coals and wiping tables. But Balram gets…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

6 authors picked The White Tiger as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I started reading The White Tiger Adiga and quickly got into the story. I think the book does a great job showing the big differences in India's society, which can be hard to see but also really interesting.

I am sure the way it talks about going after your dreams even when things are tough is something a lot of people can relate to. I guess for me, it was like taking a trip through a different part of the world and seeing what people do to move up in life, which made me think a lot.

The White Tiger is a witty and searing portrayal of a “self-made” man who has risen from the depths of abject poverty to a position of wealth and influence. 

The India portrayed is far from the glitz and romantic notions of Bollywood. It is a desperately poor place where the “haves” live like kings and the “have-nots" live like slaves.

In addition to shedding light on some of the harsh realities of class, economics, and corruption in India, The White Tiger somehow manages to subvert expectations and coax the reader into rooting for a murderer and thief who justifies his…

Like a slap in the face, this book woke me up and changed my view on life.

I have read it at least three times and everytime it punches me hard in the stomach.

Do you have romantic ideas about India? Do you think humans are wonderful creatures? Do you believe that good things will happen to good people? Forget about it.

This is the most brutal and badass book ever written about coming of age, and becoming someone in a World of nobodies.

The protagonist, Balram Halwai, is born into a World of shit. He is doomed from day…

This one haunted me with its matter-of-fact portrayal of the highs and lows of life in modern India. Dark humor makes the heavy themes go down smoothly. I was fascinated by the harsh reality of life for a low-caste Indian who wants to please masters who end up throwing him under the bus, almost literally. I liked the complicated relationship between master and servant, especially with Western influences in the mix. Adiga juxtaposes past and present, East and West, idealism and necessity. I enjoyed the feeling of wanting and not wanting the protagonist to succeed. Disturbing and heart-wrenching!

More satiric than lyrical, this novel is the life of a man who came from the sweetmaker caste in a village to become a driver for a wealthy family in Bangalore and finally, circuitously, an entrepreneur. Sardonic, unsentimental, edgy, and yet, like other stories of India, vividly sensual. A scene of foot-washing on a rooftop has always stuck in my mind.

From Peggy's list on sensuous literature of India.

This cynical and often brutal novel about Balram, a poor boy from a remote village who manages to rise from working in a teashop to become a driver for a landlord. He later kills his employer and takes the money with which the police were to have been bribed for a car accident for which he had been expected to take the blame. He goes to Bangalore and starts his own taxi business. The novel takes us through the labyrinth of a globalizing India, with its corruption, amoralism, fast wealth and the opportunity for the ruthless to escape their impoverished…

Want books like The White Tiger?

Our community of 10,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like The White Tiger.

Browse books like The White Tiger

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in poverty, business leaders, and India?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about poverty, business leaders, and India.

Poverty Explore 89 books about poverty
Business Leaders Explore 58 books about business leaders
India Explore 432 books about India