The Man Booker Prize is the best-known, most hotly debated and eagerly sought literary award in Britain. The announcement of the names of the six final contestants — the famous Booker shortlist — has been known to cause furious rows in pubs and taxis across London, along with debates over who was excluded and why the winners were chosen. The announcement of the award has frequently caused a huge spike in sales, sometimes making the careers of little-known authors.
Adiga, 33, is the second youngest author to win the prize, which is awarded each year to a novel published in Britain and written in English by a resident of a British Commonwealth country, the Republic of Ireland or Zimbabwe. According to the Prize’s website “Every effort is made to achieve a balance between the judges of gender, articulacy and role, so that the panel includes a literary critic, an academic, a literary editor, a novelist and a major figure.”
This year’s competition was especially wide-open; two of the finalists (including Adiga) were first-time novelists, and well-established authors, such as Salman Rushdie, were snubbed. The White Tiger is described as a darkly comic view of the class struggle in India, narrated by a murderous chauffeur who describes himself as a “social entrepreneur.” It’s in the form of self-justifying letters to the Premier of China, who is soon to visit India. Click here to watch a video of Adiga discussing the book, and how his work as a journalist informs his fiction.
Local note: this book has been ordered for the Library’s Browsing Collection.
author photograph: Mark Pringle