03 August, 2021

Bleached House Cat

An unsuccesful foray on breezy-absurd territory where anything goes. You can't even take the author to court.

Bleached House Cat
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.

The author’s target is the cruelly insensitive landlord class, so...

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