Q & A Paperback – 1 Feb 2006
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"This brilliant story, as colossal, vibrant and chaotic as India itself... is not to be missed" (Observer)
"Poignant, funny, rich... with an utterly orignal and brilliant structure at its heart" (Meg Rosoff, author of HOW I LIVE NOW)
"Mingling broad humour with incisive social comment, Q&A is absorbing and richly entertaining reading" (The Times)
"This lively picaresque novel has an original and telling premise... a colourful portrait of Indian society is painted with remarkable lightness and wit" (Sunday Telegraph)
"A hugely successful mixture of satire and intrigue" (Independent on Sunday)
The bestselling, award-winning novel behind the Oscar-winning film SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, directed by Danny BoyleSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is a wonderful adventure as we piece together the life of young Ram Mohammed Thomas. He is a man with three names - no one can quite work out whether he is Hindu, Moslem, or Christian. He is a young man with many more identities. Vikas Swarup (an Indian diplomat), leads us through a lifestyle which passes sardonic, not to mention savage commentary on contemporary India.
The tale is almost Dickensian in the range of characters who appear on the pages, wholly Dickensian in its theme of the homeless orphan setting out to find his way in the world, transforming survival into fortune.
The tale is told in a dozen short stories which are woven together into a whole autobiography. We move backwards and forwards through Ram Mohammed Thomas' life, encountering the varied characters who shape his destiny. We have gangsters and robbers, Bollywood, poverty and exploitation, espionage and a wry dig at diplomacy and notions of racial and cultural superiority, and a reflection on how truth is always the first casualty of war as India and Pakistan square up.
Vikas Swarup writes a well-paced novel.Read more ›
First the plot. An ill-educated, 18 year old orphan, working as a waiter in Jimmy's Bar in Mumbai, appears on the latest show in town called W3B - "Who Will Win A Billion" and correctly answers all 12 questions to win the jackpot of one billion rupees. The unscrupulous producers of the show are stunned. How can an illierate water answer all these tough questions. So they promptly bribe the police and ask them to frame Ram Mohammad Thomas for cheating. A young lawyer called Smita Shah suddenly appears in the police station where Thomas is being tortured, reads out the law to the Inspector and takes him away to her house. Then, over the course of that night - the longest night of Thomas's life - she gets him to recount the story of his life and how it enabled him to answer the 12 questions on the quiz show, question by question. So, as can guess, the novel has exactly 12 chapters.
Now for the prose. The story is narrated in a stunningly original first person voice. Simple yet supple. Non-melodramatic, yet lyrical. It made me laugh and it made me cry. Here's a sample- Ram Mohammad Thomas talking about his life in a juvenile home: "We huddle around the twenty-one-inch Dyanora TV and watch Hindi film songs and Channel V and middle-class soaps on Doordarshan. 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.Read more ›
The story runs in parrallel with Ram Mohammad Thomas a contestant in a quiz show along with various events occurring in his life. He is accussed of cheating in the show in which he wins a billion. The idea is based on the army general who cheated in Who want to win a millionaire in UK. That is the general gist of the story. A section which accompanies this novel is an interview with the author. This section is interesting to read.
Overall, Q & A is an enjoyable read and gives you a real taste of Indian culture. There is contrasting sides to the Indian society you will witness as a reader. The good side combined with the dark side.
A short background first. Q and A is the story of a life less ordinary, of an orphan named Ram Mohommad Thomas, and how he manages to win Rs. One Billion in a quiz show, by answering 12 questions. The book starts off with his arrest for winning, as a simple waiter living in Dharavi could not possibly have answered quiz questions without having cheated. The book relates his story in first person, and how he explains how he got lucky. The narrative takes us through his life, explaining just how he picked up the knowledge to answer those series of 12 questions.
Now, to the craft itself. The narrative is simple, first person, and very expressive. The story is a wonderful construction, a series of coincidences, of meetings and opportunities won and lost, with Villians, heroes, bad guys, good guys, dacoits, film stars, contract killers, and everything in the world in tow. I've heard the book has already sold movie rights, and I'm not suprised. It would make for an incredible watch. I can hear you saying Forrest Gump already, but this, I assure you, is a lot better. Forrest Gump carries with it an air of complete disbelief, which makes you smile all the way through, whereas Q and A carries with an eerie air of belief, of situations that we've seen or heard of, of a life some of us live, and some choose to ignore. Whereas a Forrest Gump lives through a picture perfect life, Ram Mohammed Thomas has seen joy, suffering, pain and loss.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'd put off reading this book because I'd seen the film and thought it would spoil my enjoyment of reading it. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Amazon Customer
The book is good, but the condition of my one was worse than I expected.Published 12 months ago by ClaretChris
Really loved this book having not seen the film, but it had mixed reviews from members of my book club, no idea why - it was a great read!Published 12 months ago by Fiona
Brilliant story, drama, humour, romance, a geography and history lesson includedPublished 15 months ago by david j gingell