#DecolonizeReading2023 Adult Books Features Lifespan of a Reader Literary Fiction Reading Themes Saturday Reads

[Saturday Reading | #DecolonizeReading2023] Revolutionary Entrepreneurship (and Absolution?) in Aravind Adiga’s “The White Tiger”

"I was looking for the key for years / but the door was always open."

SaturdayReads

Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.


The White Tiger [Amazon | Book Depository]

Written by Aravind Adiga Published by Free Press (2008) ISBN: 9781416562603 (ISBN10: 1416562605) Literary Awards: Booker Prize (2008), John Llewellyn Rhys Prize Nominee (2008), PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize Nominee (2009), Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize Nominee (2008) Book was gifted to me. Book quote layouts done by me. 

This is the first book that I am reviewing / featuring as part of our #DecolonizeReading2023 reading theme from my target list of 20 books (and 18th book in total since last year) from This Is The Canon: Decolonize Your Bookshelf In 50 Books (Amazon | Book Depository).

My book log indicates that I started reading the book on December 30, 2022 (thereabouts) and finished it on January 08.

This is a story that will probably stay with me for a long time. Balram Halwai’s voice rings true, and is reminiscent of the reality I have grown up with back in the Philippines: the systemic corruption that renders the powerless without choice, the endemic poverty and disparity among social classes, the abject humiliation and loss of dignity that renders a man utterly helpless. Yet, Balram is an entrepreneur – one who has an appreciation for couplets, notwithstanding his functional illiteracy:

As I have noted in my reading journal, this is the only novel that is truly revolutionary in nature I have read, thus far, from the list found in This Is The Canon. There is also an indictment of people’s lack of wakefulness about their state of being: perhaps anaesthetized by misery or an effective conditioning to follow the paths of least resistance driven by fear of familial annihilation, in the real sense of the word. This is perfectly captured in the quote below.

There is rage in this book – yet unlike Paul Beatty’s The Sellout [Amazon | Book Depository] (see my review here) – I found this one redemptive in all its bloody underpinnings. There is self-deprecating humor inasmuch as a vilification of the oft-superior stance afforded by anyone who perceives themselves to be in power. The mockery of the oppressor, the shame and gratitude and resentment colliding among the disenfranchised, the tension that lives within an entangled co-dependent relationship between master and slave had been evocatively conveyed without filter nor apology in this novel. It also prompts reflection on what people needed to murder – either literally or metaphorically – for them to live a life free from chains, self-imposed or otherwise.


#DecolonizeReading2023 Update: 3 out of target 100

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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