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Reader's Den: Questions for Week Three of "The White Tiger"
Early on in the novel, we learn that Balram is a successful businessman in Bangalore and an extremely complex character. In his first letter to the Chinese premier, he writes "my country is the kind where it pays to play it both ways: the Indian entrepreneur has to be straight and crooked, mocking and believing, sly and sincere, at the same time." What are your thoughts about Balram? Is he a psychopath?
Sudheer Apte, a reviewer for Mostly Fiction Book Reviews, wrote, "the most enjoyable part of this novel is the richly observed world of the have-nots in India: the flocks of drivers hanging out by their vehicles outside air-conditioned buildings, waiting for their masters to summon them, the beggars at traffic stops, who get money mostly from the poor; the petty manipulations among the servants of the house. This is the view most missing from so many Indian novels with a middle class sensibility" (Mostly Fiction Book Reviews). If it is one thing Adiga captures in his novel, is the division between the "haves" and "the have-nots" and how both sides are corrupt and manipulating the other in their own way. Because of his circumstances as a servant in India, do you feel Balram was justified in committing murder as a means to an end? Do our circumstances in life ultimately decide who we are?