Author: Vikas Swarup
Publisher: Black Swan
ISBN/UPC (if available): 9780552775427
A former Tiffin boy from Mumbai, Ram Mohammad Thomas, has just got twelve questions correct on a TV quiz show to win a cool one billion rupees. But he is brutally slung in a prison cell on suspicion of cheating. Because how can a kid from the slums know who Shakespeare was, unless he has been pulling a fast one?
In the order of the questions on the show, Ram tells us which amazing adventures in his street-kid life taught him the answers. From orphanages to brothels, gangsters to beggar-masters, and into the homes of Bollywood's rich and famous, Slum dog Millionaire is brimming with the chaotic comedy, heart-stopping tragedy, and tear-inducing joyfulness of modern India.
ACCLAIM FOR Q & A – SLUMDOG MILLIONARE
‘This brilliant story, as colossal, vibrant and chaotic as India itself…is not to be missed’
‘A lively first novel…India is equally chaotic and enchanting’
- Sunday Times
‘Not simply the story of a quiz, but rather a reminder of the various, often apparently random, ways in which knowledge can be acquires by the adventurous, the curious and the observant. Swarup is an accomplished storyteller, and Q & A has all the immediacy and impact of an oral account’.
- Daily Mail
‘An inspired idea, Through Ram’s life story, Swarup is able to give us snapshots of Indian society at its most lurid and extreme. If the prose style suggests social realism, the spirit of the novel is cinematic, even carton-like. A broad and sympathetic humanity underpins the whole book. Perhaps that is why, when it was finally time for Ram’s good luck to hold, I was moved as well as relieved’.
- Sunday Times
‘The premise of Vikas Swarup’s picaresque debut is enticing. His vivid characterization covers the full social spectrum (prostitutes, glue-sniffers, film stars, diplomats, slum-dwellers), and paints a colourful, generous and admirably unvarnished portrait of contemporary India, where not all the poor are angels, not all the wealthy are villains’.
- Literary Review
‘Gloriously fantastical the flashbacks he relates build into a picture of his life and of his remorselessly tough world: a mafia underworld that cripples children and trains them as beggars, arrogant whites oppressing their servants, families who prostitute a daughter, the dreary meanness of the rich, the desperate criminal measures to which poverty drives ordinary people’.
- The Times
‘I can see it all on the big screen now’ Mariella Frostrup ‘Open Book’
- Radio Four.
‘This page-turning novel reels from farce to melodrama to fairytale’.
- Radio Four
‘Swarup provides a strange mixture of sweet and sour in this erratically cosmic novel. Through murders, robberies, rapes and close scrapes, Ram speaks in a voice that turns from wide-eyed innocence to moral outrage’.
- Washington Post
‘Swarup writers humorously and keeps surprises coming. When it is turned into the movie it wants to be, Q & A will be a delight’
- New York Times Book Review
‘A novel endowed with all the emotional richness and moral ambiguities of a Mumbai street scene’.
‘Swarup’s fanciful debut is based on a sound premise: you learn a lot about the world by living in it (Ram has survived abandonment, chills abandonment, child abuse, murder). And just as the quiz show format is meant to distil his life story (each question prompts a separate flashback), Ram’s life seems intended to distil the predicament of India’s underclass in general. Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children may have been a model: Ram’s brash yet innocent voice recalls that of Saleem Sinai, Rushdie’s narrator, and the sheer number of Ram’s near-death adventures represents the life of the underprivileged in India, Just as Saleem wore a map of India, quite literally, on his face’.
- Publishers’ Weekly
‘A picaresque ride through the underbelly of urban India where evil hides in the most ordinary places. Despite an overdose of dark-ness, of the evil’s endless trysts with a boy, the novel is for the most part stripped of overt sentimentality. It is the terseness of narrative that gives the book a contemporaneity. It is the tale of the new millennium’s just-turned adults, the heirs to midnight’s overgrown children’.
- Indian Today
‘Behind the gauze of playfulness and ironic description, the reader can’t help but wonder whether Swarup is also trying to net a fish that’s swimming at a deeper level of the water. For at its core, Thomas’s story investigates the distinction made between knowledge and luck a rollicking read as well as being a polished, varnished, finished work of impressive craftsmanship’.
- Hindustan Times
‘Truly gripping the character of the protagonist is an everyday person with an atypical take on life it epitomizes all that life is for the common man in India, for whom even an honest victory is uncommon, almost met with ridicule and disbelief. Read it and treasure it’.
- Financial Express
‘[For] galloping pace and sheer readability, you can’t put this book down. Given the ingenious simplicity of the plot’s framework at once a comment on how TV contests pander to audiences in the age of avarice, he is also pointing at obvious ethical dilemmas in a country where divisions of caste, class and, above all, the wide abyss between rich and poor, nags at any notion of equality, education and social justice’.
‘An enthusiastic debut worth devouring. Vikas Swarup weaves a delightful Yarn, the story stays with the reader for its remarkable and magical story of a young boy who believes that “a waking dream is always more fleeting than a sleeping one”. So go ahead and read this enchanting tale of the good over the baneful’.
- Sunday Tribune
‘A bloody good book. Not two ways about it, The characters we encounter in the novel, be it the guileless Salim, the dutiful Lajwanti, or Nita, the whore pining for redemption, are all stereotypical and yet entirely believable. It is easy to feel for them. It is also easy to wish for a ride into the sunset with them, a roller coaster ride part quiz show, part morality tale’.
- Deccan Herald
‘Riveting drama, Ram’s life must pass through multiple filters, it must be told and retold in different ways. From the questions posed to him and the record provided on the DVD to his back grounders for Smita, to the final tying up of all the loose ends, Ram is perhaps being put to a higher test. At the age of 18, his crowded life must be straightened out to disclose a compact honesty. For Swarup the quiz show is also a template to tell the story of modern India. It is a depiction with a moral edge’.
- Indian Express
‘Rescued from a dustbin where he is dumped after his birth, Ram’s life follows a singular path. One of survival in the face of great odds. From the moment he is picked up by Father Timothy to the time he meets a crazy Australian mole, Ram’s life is one of existing by instinct, which never fails him. Predictably as he tells his story against the backdrop of each question put to him on the show, there unfolds a sage of human greed, abuse, homosexuality, friendship and compassion. Q & A touches a chord somewhere even as it lets you believe in magic’.
- The Hindu
‘Swarup’s debut novel is impressive. At one level, there is nothing in his protagonist’s history that can be called truly fantastic. Each event from winning the game show to getting employed by an Australian diplomat who fancies himself as a spymaster could have happened to someone. What is interesting is the way these plausible incidents are stitched together to create a fantastic tale’.
- Business World
‘A polished debut bang on the publisher’s pulse. The linguistic style is simple, peppy and very Life of Pi. It is not often that we get such fast paced action, which like a breathless express train, stops only at special stations, punch lines or when the quizmaster says, “You just won a 100 million rupees!” ’.
- The Week
‘Just the book for a long journey. If you aren’t going away some where, don’t start if you intend to get any sleep at night’.
- Sydney Morning Herald
‘Stunning first novel set in modern day India. A moving, dark comedy, that crosses social boundaries to paint a picture of India as we have seen it before’.
- Manly Daily
‘The book of the story, and one that keeps the reader totally engrossed, is that each question asked of Ram in the show is a question that he knows because of a memorable event in his life. From astronomy, to the history of pistols, to minutiae about religion, Ram knows the answer, much to the annoyance of the sleazy game show host intent on getting him out of the contestant’s chair’ ABC Wide Bay,
- Queensland Review
‘Swarup has achieved a triumph with this thrilling, endearing work which gets into the heart and soul of modern India’.
- New Zealand Herald
‘The book deceptively light-hearted and chatty, but at its core is social commentary; “The rich people, those who live in their marble and granite four-bedroom flats, they enjoy. The slum people, who live in squalid, tattered huts, they suffer. And we, who reside in the overcrowded chawls, we simply live.” Ram’s work takes him into the homes of the other half, from where he is able to observe them as the freaks they are. His name – Hindu, Muslim and Christian draws together all the religious facets of India, giving him a pass into different worlds, cultures and socio-economic groups’.
- New Zealand Listener Review
‘Q&A is Indian diplomat, crafts this funny and moving tale with wit and heart. Readers will root for Ram Mohammad’s survival against impossible odds, will admire his acts of bravery and intelligence. And true to the laws of Karma, what goes around really does, come around. Reading Q&A is like catching Ram Mohammad’s lucky coin; you’ll want to carry it around with you and share its wealth with friends’.
-The Times, Picayune
‘[A] Suprisingly assured debut Q&A is fun, intelligent and leaves you wanting more. Here is one diplomat with a genuine gift for persuasion’.
-The Toronto Star
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2,000 The Burden of a Priest
5,000 A Brother’s Promise
10,000 A Thought for the Crippled
50,000 How to Speak Australian
100,000 Hold On To Your Buttons
200,000 Murder on the Western Express
500,000 A Soldier’s Tale
1,000,000 Licence to Kill
10,000,000 Tragedy Queen
100,000,000 X Gkrz Opknu (or, A love Story)
1,000,000,000 The Thirteenth Question