India is a curious place to me and I enjoy reading books about it. I started 2010 with a read of A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry and decided I wanted to read more. So I grabbed this Booker Prize winning book and wasn't disappointed.
Balram tells us his story over the course of seven nights. Born in the dark parts of India he grew up being the son of a poor rickshaw driver and is now wanted for committing the crime of murdering his master to become. The Minister of China is going to visit India soon. Balram wants him to know the truth about India. And this truth can be best described within his story, so he decides to write to him.
Balram becomes hired the driver for the wealthiest man in his village. Soon his new world and the life of his master becomes a revelation of India. He goes for girls, drinks liquor, reads Murder Weekly and plays his role in the Rooster Coop of the Indian society but he also watches his employers going for girls, bribing ministers, drinking expensive liquor and playing their own role in the Rooster Coop. He tries to find a way out of this Coop by committing a murder which has bad consequences for his family.
I liked being told about this foreign society and learned from Balram that one has to eavesdrop on the right conversations to get a suitable education and decency in a corrupt world.
The character of Balram though is not very likable. One could say he is too foreign. But this I think could be intentionally done by the author.
I read this book for my Booker Challenge.