Monday, May 09, 2005

Book Review: Vikas Swarup's Q & A

Vikas Swarup "Q & A" Posted by Hello

If you have a penchant for Bollywood movies, you will
enjoy this book because it reads just like a story out
of Bollywood. The protagonist, Ram Mohamed Thomas, is
a poor waiter who emerges as the winner of a billion
rupees in the "Who Will Win a Billion" show. But
instead of seeing his prize money he sees the inside
of a cell, for according to popular logic, how can a
poor, virtually illiterate orphan boy know the answers
to 12 tricky questions on a game show unless he has

To prepare his defense, the protagonist's lawyer
conducts a lengthy interview with him to assess how he
got all 12 answers right despite being a barely
educated, penniless waiter, and in doing so, we the
readers are treated to Ram's life story in 12
wonderful chapters during which we conclude that Ram
has drawn on a wealth of street wisdom and life
lessons enabling him not just to win a quiz show but
to win the struggle against itself.

This is a delightfully told yarn, at once funny and
sad and sometimes employing a highly exaggerated style
which is necessary when you consider that the
protagonist and his chums are huge Bollywood fans. The
writer does a wonderful job of taking the reader on a
trip through the underbelly of India introducing the
readers to a whole host of colorful characters which
inlude street urchins, pimps, dacoits, slum dwellers,
Taj Mahal tour guides and even a princess. I
thorougly enjoyed this book and was almost sad when I
came to the last page.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's a great story. Waiting for more. » »