The White Tiger and Other Masterpieces That Bagged the Booker Prize
Reading, according to some people, induces a sense of euphoria. Slipping into a world of imagination fuelled by words must be one of the top 10 feelings in the world. Having said that, some authors heighten our serotonin levels more than others, and The Man Booker Prize is designed to endorse exactly that.
Introduced in 1969, The Man Booker Prize rewards the finest English fiction novels each year published in the United Kingdom. Since its inception, a group of judges is elected each year from across many professions and disciplines who are responsible for picking the fiction masterpiece for the year. The prize is awarded to the piece, not the author, and over the decades, only five pieces birthed by Indian authors have been honoured. Wondering what to add to your read list? These five Booker winners should be at the top!
Recently turned into a fabulous motion picture, The White Tiger was penned by Aravind Adiga in 2008. This Man Booker Prize winner follows the quests of Balram Halwai – the protagonist – who is a self-declared “self-made entrepreneur”. He adeptly jumps from 0 to 100 on India’s socio-economic ladder by going from being a rickshaw driver’s son to a ‘chauffeur’ to a successful businessman. Author Aravind Adiga has jumped from continent to continent, but no matter where he goes, he never fails to wow with his literary prowess.
Not very long after The Man Booker Prize was introduced, In a Free State managed to bag it. It is the first fiction piece written by an Indian novelist to win this honour. In a Free State is built on three stories that are woven together. Each story contains characters that are impacted by British imperialism stemming from different parts of the world, based at different times. Imperialism, colonization, and ties to the Caribbean, Britain, and India are common themes spotted in Naipaul’s work. V.S. Naipaul’s fiction piece A Bend in the River (1979) was also nominated and shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize.
Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things won The Man Booker Prize in 1997 itself – the year it was published. The fiction follows the story of seven-year-old twins in Kerala – Estha, and Rahel – and their experiences pertaining to political unrest in India. A must-read – we can’t emphasize this enough.
It’s safe to say that everyone has heard of the power Salman Rushdie’s words have to conquer hearts and linger long after one has set his book down. For this power, indeed, he bagged The Man Booker Prize for Midnight’s Children in 1981. It later went on to also bag the Booker of Bookers – the award for the best book awarded The Man Booker Prize in the first 25 years. Salman Rushdie’s two other fiction masterpieces – Shame and The Moor’s Last Sigh – have also been shortlisted for The Man Booker Prize.
Fiction runs in the blood. Well, lucky for us, renowned Indian novelist Anita Desai’s daughter Kiran Desai took after her literary genes and wrote a paragon that bagged The Man Booker Prize in 2006 called The Inheritance of Loss. The story follows the losses that followed India’s struggle with British colonization. Set in the foothills of the Himalayas, it is a treat in itself. Say goodbye to everything else on your to-do, you won’t be able to set this one down.