Monday, July 8, 2013

Five of the best stories about domestic servants

Julia Stuart's latest novel is The Pigeon Pie Mystery.

One of five of the best stories about domestic servants she tagged for the Wall Street Journal:
The White Tiger
by Aravind Adiga (2008)

The world suddenly seems terribly dull when you finish reading a masterpiece. Luckily, this Man Booker Prize-winner dazzles on each subsequence reading. It is sly and brutally funny, and the runaway pacing never trips. Narrator Balram Halwai, now a successful businessman, relates with glorious verve how his life as a driver (and reluctant foot massager) led him to murder. You can't help delighting in his impudent depiction of India as endlessly corrupt. "Vijay's family were pigherds, which meant they were the lowest of the low, yet he had made it up in life. Somehow he had befriended a politician. People said he had let the politician dip his beak in his backside." Balram's place in society is so skillfully rendered, you quite understand why he savagely kills the only employer who shows him a hint of humanity. You absolutely believe him when he says that he might do away with his own nephew next. And yet he takes the reader on such a thrilling, uproarious ride that you'd get into his car any day.
Read about the other entries on Stuart's list.

The Page 69 Test: Aravind Adiga's The White Tiger.

--Marshal Zeringue