I was a bit apprehensive reading a series of letters from a barely literate Indian chauffeur. There seemed to be little about the driver I could find engaging: murderer, entrepreneur, Halwai (sweetmaker) caste, Hindi, angry servant. I was amazed at the charisma of the story-teller and the metaphors he uses for life: chicken coop, zoo, white tiger, big belly. Vivid dark imagery and social inequity make this a great novel. Winner of the Man Booker Prize (English) 2008.
This novel most definitely lived up to all of it's many accolades, especially if you are a lover of Indian literature. The narrator tells his life story in a series of emails to a Chinese official who is coming to India to learn about entrepreneurship. You learn a great deal about the underbelly of Indian society and it's huge division of wealth and privelege. Told with a great deal of humor. I had a hard time putting this down!
We read this book for our women's book club and had the longest, liveliest discussion I've ever had while in the club. We probably discussed the book for over an hour. This is an excellent book. At times, I found it hard to read because of the graphic descriptions of the poverty and unfairness of the poor people's lives. But if you want to really have something to think about, this is the book for you. At times, you find yourself rooting for the main character, who has murdered his employer in cold blood. Wben you're done with the book, however, you may find yourself wondering how you could have been on his side. The layers to this book are endless and it definitely deserved the award it won: The Man Booker award of 2008.