Out of the Darkness: Adiga’s White Tiger rides to Booker victory against the odds

From The Guardian:

Adiga460x276_2 After an “emotionally draining” and closely fought final judging session, Aravind Adiga, one of the two debut novelists on the Man Booker shortlist, was last night awarded the £50,000 prize for The White Tiger, a bracingly modern novel about the dark side of the new India. Adiga, 33, is a surprise winner: at long odds he batted aside the claims of veteran writers on the shortlist such as Sebastian Barry and Amitav Ghosh. He is only the is only the fourth first time novelist to win the prize, after Keri Hulme in 1985, Arundhati Roy in 1997 and DBC Pierre in 2003 – and he is the second youngest after Ben Okri, who won in 1991 aged 32. Michael Portillo, the chair of the judges, talked of a final panel meeting characterised by “passionate debate”. Adiga’s book won by a “sufficient”, but by no means unanimous, margin. “It was pretty close,” said Portillo, and in the last stages it was down to a battle between The White Tiger and one other book.

The White Tiger takes a sharp and unblinking look at the reality of India’s economic miracle. Its antihero and narrator, Balram Halwai, is a cocksure, uneducated young man, the son of an impoverished rickshaw driver. By lying, betraying and using his sharp intelligence, Balram makes his ascent into the heady heights of Bangalore’s big business. The writing of the novel, said Adiga, had come out of his career as a journalist, and his encounters – as a relatively privileged middle-class man – with members of India’s underclass.

More here.