[14 October 2008]
His book is the best of the lot, and so is his smile. Just look at Aravind Adiga. He’s the second youngest Man Booker Prize winner, so states the Guardian, but can we make him the first cutest? A happy man with a bright future who’s entirely unafraid to show some teeth—it’s that face that makes me want to go out and grab his book. That and his passion for his subject ... of course.
Adiga, who’s just 33, won the prize for his first novel The White Tiger, about an Indian cab driver who winds up a swindling businessman. Over at Untitled Books, Adiga fires up about his home country and the issues and injustices that led him to write the novel. Here’s a sample:
What is important for Adiga is that the stories are told. Having the advantages of education and financial security is merely ‘an extra obligation to write about people without those benefits’. Repeatedly described as angry by the press, he counters ‘there is a lot to be angry about.’ He returns again and again to the big questions of education, healthcare (hospitals are ‘mind-bogglingly bad’) and legal protection, and he has been accused of betraying his country by focusing on India’s corruption and problems. ‘I can’t see what could be more patriotic than making a passionate plea for the better treatment of two thirds of my countrymen,’ he retorts. His anxiety to protect his country is palpable and his great fear is that crime and social unrest will explode to South African proportions unless reforms are carried out.
The Mail Online has a great and detailed story about Adiga and his work. There’s a wonderful interview with the author on Book Browse, in which he discusses his influences, his career in journalism, and India’s difficult future.
And a basic Google Image search will get you more pictures of that smile.
The White Tiger is published by Free Press.