Q & A – Vikas Swarup

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Books Before Blogging Review

This week there has been lots of publicity for the release of the film Slumdog Millionaire here in the UK. The book is based on the novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to let you know that it is well worth reading.

I picked this book up in a charity book shop about a year ago. I started reading the first page, to see if it would be my sort of thing, and it gripped me so much that I barely put it down until I’d finished it.

The story is based around eighteen-year-old Ram Mohammad Thomas, who is arrested after winning the Indian version of ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionare’. The show’s producers are convinced that a boy from the slums could not have answered all twelve questions correctly without cheating in some way. Each chapter in the book explains the extraordinary reasons why Ram knew the answers to a diverse range of questions.

Many of the situations described were very unbelievable, and seemed to have been constructed around a fact that seemed to have been picked at random, rather than writing a realistic plot around more general questions. This didn’t really matter though, as the ending makes up for it!

It is a real page turner, with a great central character. Ram’s view of the world is touching and funny:

We especially like watching the films on Sunday.These films are about a fantasy world. A world in which kids have mothers and fathers, and birthdays. A world in which they live in huge houses, drive in huge cars and get huge presents. We saw this fantasy world, but we never got carried away by it.

It’s a nice, easy read, filled with the sights and sounds of India.


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  1. FleurFisher says:

    Ah, I have heard of both book and film but I didn’t link them until I read your post. Thank you. I’m going to look into ordering the book from the library.

  2. Beth F says:

    I really didn’t know much about the book or movie — now I’m interested! Thanks for the nice review.

  3. Beth F says:

    BTW: If you decide to take on the Graphic Novels challenge, or if you just want to read a novel or two, visit the challenge’s blog. You’ll find the participants’ reading lists.

  4. FleurFisher says:

    Hello again. I’m tagging you for the Bookshelf Meme!

  5. Eva says:

    Too funny, this is the 4th time in just a few days someone has recommended it to me and the recommendations came from completely different parts of the world. Jerusalem, Israel; Gothenburg, Sweden; Irvine, California; and now the UK. Sounds worth reading!!! Thanks for the review!

  6. Tamara says:

    I agree this was a page turner and too hard to put down. To be honest, I took a sickie from work to read it. It was loaned to me from a friend in a pile of books and I didn’t know which book to start with. Again, like you, once I picked it up I couldn’t not start with this one. Looking forward to the movie.


  1. Sunday Salon: Gleaned from the Saturday Review at Semicolon
  2. Saturday Review of Books: January 17, 2009 at Semicolon
  3. Q & A (aka Slumdog Millionaire)
  4. Six Suspects - Vikas Swarup | Farm Lane Books Blog

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