The White Tiger & What the Body Remembers

Book Pairing

The White Tiger   What the Body Remembers

These two novels depict India during different time periods but it always seems like no matter what era you pick for Indian fiction, similar struggles are experienced by the characters.  In this case, both protagonists face difficulties living in their culture and class, while trying to accept changes that are shaping their cities.  For instance, in the first book, Balram Halwai is given a new job in New Delhi, where he believes life will improve greatly.  He thinks that the twenty-first century (with all its technology) will make things fair for society but he slowly realizes that he is sadly mistaken.  His taxi driver job is just the beginning of his harsh reality.  In the second story, sixteen year-old Roop (born into a lower class family) has been promised to a wealthy engineer and landowner—but only as a second wife.  Although she is married into a high class society, she must face the wrath of the first wife and tumultuous unrest, as India threatens to divide.  The country is in a desperate state to keep all types of citizens confined to their respective areas, which causes much rebellion, just as WWII is on the cusp.  In both tales there is melancholy throughout but you also get the sense that the main characters have a “fight” in them, which shows they can withstand whatever may come their way.  Difficult topics to swallow but admirable novels all the same.

 

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