Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dear Great Book Guru, I was at the Sea Cliff Bistro yesterday afternoon having my daily cappuccino when a group of people began discussing a book they were reading for their book group. It was about modern India and the hero was a murderer. Does this sound familiar? Cappuccino / Latte Lover

Dear Cappuccino/ Latte Lover, Don't you just adore the Sea Cliff Bistro -everyone calls it Lily's after its talented and gracious owner. The perfect spot for a late afternoon treat! I was there this weekend, when Greta Gorder and Michael and Diane Biolsi came in for their lattes. Diane and Greta, in fact, are reading the very book you are asking about- WHITE TIGER by Aravind Adiga This is a very disturbing look into the mind of the clever but amoral entrepreneur Balram Halwai who came from the "darkness" as he calls his rural village into the "lightness" which is the sophisticated, upscale Indian city where he now lives and works. The novel takes the form of letters in which Halwai recounts his determination to rise above his impoverished beginnings - to be the white tiger that appears once in a generation. He realizes that society views him and others of his class as its rubbish, its throwaways. The killing of his employer which is mentioned on the first page of the book is not a violent act prompted by hatred or passion, but a calculated gesture meant to insure a good life for himself. The reader is left conflicted: can one condemn a man who feels life is simply a contest in which one is the eater or the eaten?

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