Book reviews Critiques littéraires Books recently published in english and french.

dimanche 21 juin 2009


WHITE TIGER , by Aravind Adiga,2008 , and 2009 Booker Prize,



Now this book is very funny and terribly cynical in an Indian literature which has not so far given us bitter satire and self derision to that level ; in this sense it is healthy and lucid. The new Indian society is a corrupt ,unfair vastly unequal one, and as incredibly cruel to the poor as the old society.This year, the Oscar winning film " Slumdog millionaire" gave us also ( to the discontent of Indian public opinion) a whiff of that unbelievable cruelty and meanness towards the poor and uneducated. That aspect of Indian culture is always a shock to western readers.The story is a simple poor man journey to success: how to become an entrepreneur in the Silicone valley of India where technology and outsourcing are flourishing : Bangalore; success even if one has committed a murder on the way …. ( he killed his own boss on the road, and stole his money bag )The success of a criminal being part of this wild satire on developing nations like India and China," now that we are in the 21 st century which belongs to the yellow man and the brown man" , as White Tiger ( the hero)says in his letter to the Chinese Premier . Because the book is an epistolary novel , in the form of letters sent to the Chinese Premier, a language that neither White Tiger nor Wen Jiabao can speak. Ha ! In the same vein, the most useful English phrase you must use when being an entrepreneur was indicated to Tiger's by the wife of his late boss, aptly called ' Pink madam : what a fucking joke . That is his programme , his motto is clear : the Indian entrepreneur has to be" straight and crooked , mocking and believing, sly and sincere at the same time" .The auto biography of a half baked Indian, that could be the title of his story ( his words) because these entrepreneurs are never allowed to finish their schooling, which means you have to work when you are 12 years old (Tiger is the son of a rickshaw puller)and lead the life of a indentured slave to your employer. So much humiliation and exploitation of the poor and uneducated is described all throughout his tale as a chauffeur to the rich,that one wonders how more employees do not kill their masters !

Total hatred towards all others even your co workers saturates Indian society ,except for fierce family loyalty that borders on the ferocious and soon tires the reade gets bored It is difficult to keep any level of humor in this atmosphere ; this writer is not a new Dickens with his constant drollery and comical descriptions of diabolical cruelty . He is repetitious in his violently insulting remarks of the Chinese Premier ( the" yellow face " epithet can be satirical) to whom he writes , and in his diatribe against the so called Indian democracy; he hates all the hypocrisy but is not sufficiently bitter to make us care, We finally find all of this tale despicable, grotesque even, not particularly funny because all this societal psychodrama is beyond the pale and appears as a national psychosis. Survival of the fittest and the worst indeed. May be you can only laugh bitterly at Indian globalization crisis or weep .


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Brussels, Belgium
Née à Bruxelles, mère résistante et sculpteur, père homme d’affaires, études à l ’Université libre de Bruxelles ( Philosophie et Lettres ; arts primitifs), puis à Harvard ( anthropologie), Rutgers New Brunswick, Duke University .N.C. USA ( littérature comparée, Masters et Doctorat.) Thèse publiée (Ph.D) sur Valéry et Mallarmé. Enseignement universitaire aux USA, en France (Aix en Provence) et au Liban (comme coopérant) ,littérature et philosophie , en français ou anglais. Mariée en premières noces à un avocat américain G.Robert Wills et puis à un peintre et publiciste Français, Jean- Pierre Rhein (décédé). La plupart des publications sous le nom de Wills.Vit à Bruxelles.