I know next to nothing about India. Never been there. Have a few friends/acquaintances who are but don’t know enough about their experiences to speak intelligently on what the country is like.
This may have been the first fictional novel I’ve read set in the book so I went into it with eyes open.
Take that all with a grain of salt because I don’t know what the perspective is from actual Indians on the book. But as a deconstruction of the country of India, its caste system and social dynamics, I found it fascinating.
The story is good too.
What’s tough about those kinds of books is you have to straddle the line. You’ve got to tell a story people want to read and you have to layer it with social commentary without sounding preachy. To that end, I think Aravind Adiga did a great job. I got an experience of a country that I know little about, learned a lot, and enjoyed quite a tale.
I was invested in Balram’s story, caring about him as a person while keeping a curious distance as to his motivations. He’s a fully realized character with a complex background who is pulled into new circumstances and has to maneuver around them. Him learning how to do it was both funny and frightening.
I have yet to see the Netflix movie this is based on but I anticipate it being as good as advertised. The book itself is quite cinematic. It gave me a lot to consider regarding characterization and how we view things in life.