The narrator of the novel is Balram. He is an Indian entrepreneur, who begins composing a letter to the Chinese primeminester, Wen Jiabao, who is visiting India on diplomacy.
Balram expresses his excitement as a local businessman that Jiabao wants to understand the culture of Indian entrepreneurship, and claims that his life story is all Jiabao needs to hear in order to learn “the truth about India.”
He warns Jiabao not to believe what politicians tell him, and not to buy the bootlegged American business books that children sell in the street.
The plot (briefly)
The fourth morning
The fourth night
The fifth night
The sixth morning
The Sixth Night
The seventh night
Balram introduces the metaphor of the Rooster Coop and uses it to explain why and how his master feels justified in framing him for the family’s crimes.
Balram explains that the Indian family dynamic is the reason why the Rooster Coop stays intact and that it takes someone willing to see his family destroyed (referred to as a white tiger) to escape it.
Balram is sitting in his room, afraid to go to jail after having signed the document stating that it was him driving the car and who hit the child. Since no one witnessed the accident, Balram was free.
A few days later, Pinky Madame wakes up Balram in the middle of the night and asks him to drive her to the airport. Before catching a plane (to the United States) and ending her marriage to Mr. Ashok, she leaves an envelope with money for Balram.
Mr. Ashok gets furious and blames Balram for his wife leaving. The anger later turns into sadness and Balram spends the following days and weeks taking care of Ashok.
The Mongoose arrives to help Ashok with his separation and divorce to Pinky Madame, with him he had a letter to Balram from his granny. The mongoose and Ashok read the letter out loud although Balram assures them that he can read.
In the letter, the granny encourages Balram to marry and blackmails him to send money, which he has not done for months. Balram is attempted by marrying but understands that he will never gain a higher status if he is bound to the responsibilities of having to take care of a family.
Balram then breaks off the history and explains that something has come up.