Updated Review - Now it actually reminds me of The Great Gatsby. I was also wondering how delusional the narrator is. Still good.
(Reread for UC Book Club April 2016)
I haven't read much Indian literature, just a few short stories. The friend I borrowed this book from actually read it while she was in India (her bookmark is, in fact, the little weather sheet one of the hotels hands out). She enjoyed it because she actually went to the places mentioned in novel. (She's British and claims she didn't ride an elephant there. I don't believe her).
What makes this book succeed is the character of Halwai, the narrator, or to be more exact, the letter writer. The story is told by him, and like most first person narrators, he reveals more of himself than he intends. Comparison has made toNative Son and Invisible Man, and while I can see the connection (both books are ancestors of Tiger), Halwai is far more charming and interesting than the central characters of those books. What Adiga has done is create a totally believable character who fascinates but does not earn (or want) sympathy. In many ways, he reminds of Richard III, especially when played by Ian McKellan. You know he is a bad guy, BUT .