When he had come out of university, he wrote in both Hindi and English. He used to file all news reports in English, but his more reflective essays on Sunday were for the siter paper in Hindi. These essays were filled with nostalgia and protest, and reflected perhaps the loneliness he had felt while living away from home in Delhi.
Small-town people tear their shirts open when they are felling very excited. They do that when a hit song is on the screen. When some titillating dance is going on, you see coins being thrown at the screen. It's madness. They don't hold back any emotion, they don't care a damn what people think. If they want to cry, they cry or howl in the theater. In cities, audiences go to the theater with expectation, they come to enjoy the film and if you betray them, and you let them down and you can't hold them, then you'll see empty theaters the next day. They are extreme in their emotions; the city people aren't--I would say they don't know how to enjoy a Hiindi film."
I have witnessed such men, and sometimes women, coming back to their village homes countless times. The novelist seems to know next to nothing about either the love or the despair of the people he writes about. I want to know if others, who might never have visited Bihar, read the passage above and recognize how wrong it is, how the appearance of verisimilitude belies the emotional truths of life in Bihar.
As I continued [to read Adiga's book], I found on nearly every page a familiar observation or a fine phrase, and on nearly every page inevitably something that sounds false. I stopped reading on page thirty-five.
I was anxious about my response to The White Tiger. No, not only for the suspicion about the ressentiment lurking in my breast, but also because I was aware that I might be open to the same charge of being inauthentic. My own novel Home Products, published last year, has as its protagonist a journalist who is writing about the murder of a young woman. The case is based on a well-known murder of a poet who had an illicit relationship with a married politician. Kidnapping and rape and, of course, murder, feature quite frequently in the novel's pages. By presenting these events through a journalist's eye, I tried hard to maintain a tone of observational integrity. At some level, realism had become my religion.