Q & A
Vikas Swarup's remarkable debut novel opens in a jail cell in Mumbai, India, where Ram Mohammad Thomas is being held after correctly answering all twelve questions on India's biggest quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? It is hard to believe that a poor orphan who has never read a newspaper or gone to school could win such a contest. But through a series of exhilarating tales Ram explains to his lawyer how episodes in his life gave him the answer to each question.
Ram takes us on an amazing review of his own history—from the day he was found as a baby in the clothes donation box of a Delhi church to his employment by a faded Bollywood star to his adventure with a security-crazed Australian army colonel to his career as an overly creative tour guide at the Taj Mahal.
Swarup's Q & A is a charming blend of high comedy, drama, and romance that reveals how we know what we know—not just about trivia, but about life itself. Cutting across humanity in all its squalor and glory, Vikas Swarup presents a kaleidoscopic vision of the struggle between good and evil—and what happens when one boy has no other choice in life but to survive.
Reading Group Guide
Why is a penniless waiter from Mumbai sitting in a prison cell?
Is it because:
a) he has punched a customer;
b) he has drunk too much whisky;
c) he has stolen money from the till; or
d) he is the biggest quiz-show winner in history?
Ram Mohammad Thomas has been arrested. For answering twelve questions correctly on “Who Will Win a Billion?” Because a poor orphan who has never read a newspaper or gone to school cannot know the smallest planet in the solar system, or the location of the Pyramids, or the plays of Shakespeare. Unless he has cheated.
Ram is rescued from the police cell where he has been interrogated all night, by what he can only imagine is an angel, though she is posing as a lawyer. Ram prepares his defense by reviewing television footage of his flawless performance. One at a time, he explains how he knew the answer to each question by telling a chapter of his amazing life—from the day he is salvaged from a dustbin, to his employment by a faded Bollywood star, to his meeting with a security-crazed Australian colonel, by way of a car see more