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Judges say Booker winner shocked and entertai -

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ELEANOR HALL: Australian novelist Steve Toltz has missed out but another first time author has won
one of the world's most prestigious literary awards.

Indian writer Aravind Adiga won the Man Booker Prize with his novel, "The White Tiger".

The judges say they chose it because it shocked and entertained them in equal measure.

As Stephanie Kennedy reports from London.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Aravind Adiga's novel is a story about the haves and the have-nots; the class
division between the rich and the poor in the vast country that is India.

Balram is the son of rickshaw puller, he dreams of escaping his life in a village as a teashop
worker turned driver.

His chance finally arrives and his eyes are opened to the world when he travels to New Delhi. He's
now torn between his village life and his desire to better himself.

As he makes his journey to entrepreneurial success he discovers how the tiger caught in the cage
might finally escape.

ARAVIND ADIGA: It's just a topic that seemed most pressing and the least addressed in fiction, so
that's why I picked on it. It just spoke to me the most, it's not meant to be a political treatise
or a social treatise, it's a novel, it's told in the voice of a narrator whose views you're welcome
to accept or to reject.

So it's not journalism, it's not a documentary, it's meant to be funny and it's meant to provoke
people into thinking, but it's also meant to be entertainment. As I said it's a novel and what you
think of it, should be judged upon the internal evidence within the novel of what you make of this
character.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: "The White Tiger" is the Indian writer's first novel.

He's spent much of his life outside India, he went to school in Australia and holds an Australian
passport, he studied at Oxford and in the United States.

He now lives in Mumbai but says his experiences living in western cultures had an impact on this
novel.

What inspired your book?

ARAVIND ADIGA: There wasn't one particular incident, it was just a series of travels and
experiences that triggered it off. I think it was just a series of images that come to mind, it
wasn't so much one particular incident as things you see, that you store in your mind that you
can't use in your journalism when you're travelling about and you promised to come back one day.

And these images stay in your mind and they call us into work, into narrative work.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: It's been described as balled, angry, unadorned portrait of India. How would you
describe your novel?

ARAVIND ADIGA: Well it's a novel, it's not a political or a social treatise, it's an unusual novel
and since it breaks many of the genre conventions that you expect from novels out of India, I think
it has been subjected to some degree of miscomprehension.

It's meant to be funny above all other things, and it's meant to be provocative, but it is also
meant to be entertainment, it's a book, it's a novel, it's not the newspaper and it's not an
objective portrait of anything.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: How do you follow up a debut novel that's won the Man Booker Prize?

ARAVIND ADIGA: It's a great honour, you know, but there are other things in life too, so it's right
now, the feeling is one of gratitude of having won.

STEPHANIE KENNEDY: Winning the Man Booker Prize is as much about cash as it is about kudos, not
only will Aravind Adiga take home the $125,000 in prize money but he can expect to sell tens of
thousands of extra copies of his novel.

In London this is Stephanie Kennedy reporting for The World Today.