Munna Halwai alias Balram alias the eponymous White Tiger of this satirical first novel by Aravind Adiga is either a very funny fellow or a very annoying one. It all depends on how much you like a sassy anti-hero who murders his hateful NRI boss to claw his way out of the Darkness of India’s impoverished millions into the Light of India’s plump and wealthy hundreds. I found the book a tedious, unfunny slog, but the back-cover blurb says it is "compelling, angry and darkly humourous".
The tone of the writing is breezy-absurd, which means we can’t hold the writer accountable for anything that happens in the book. Two-foot-long geckos and corpses whose toes send messages from beyond the pyre? No problem. After all, compared to the real-life absurdities of Indian life, where public buses routinely mow down pedestrians on the roads of the capital city and ordinary citizens murder their daughters-in-law on a daily basis, the events in the book are entirely commonplace.