Wednesday, October 15, 2008

2008 Man Booker Prize

No, not the Asian one, though the results should be forthcoming. Rather, the one in the U.K., where a 33-year old Indian novelist, Aravind Adiga, has won this year's prize for his book, "The White Tiger". An excerpt from the news report:

The White Tiger follows Balram Halwai, the son of a rickshaw puller whose dream of escaping the poverty of his village takes him on a journey to the bright lights of Delhi and Bangalore, where he will do almost anything to get to the top.

"It was important for me to present someone from this colossal underclass, which is perhaps as big as 400 million, and to do so without sentimentality," Adiga told reporters after the awards ceremony.

"The book has done very well in India. It was a bestseller before this was announced. There's been a need for a book like this," he added.

Michael Portillo, chairman of the five-member judging panel, praised The White Tiger for tackling important social and political issues in modern-day India.

"What set this one apart was its originality," Portillo said. "For many of us this was entirely new territory -- the dark side of India.

"It's a book that gains from dealing with very important social issues -- the divisions between rich and poor and the impossibility of the poor escaping from their lot in India."

Here's a review of the book from The Times Online.

Two related articles here and here.


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