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Slumdog Millionaire [Paperback]

Vikas Swarup
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Dec 1 2008

Ram Mohammad Thomas has been arrested—for answering twelve questions correctly on TV’s Who Will Win a Billion? Ram has never gone to school and never read a newspaper. There is no way a poor orphan from Jimmy’s Bar could know the names of the planets or the plays of Shakespeare ... unless he cheated. Rescued from his police cell by a lawyer, Ram reviews television footage of his flawless performance and takes us on an amazing tour of his life growing up in Asia’s biggest slum—from the day he is salvaged from a garbage can, to his job with a faded Bollywood star, to working as an over-creative tour guide at the Taj Mahal, to falling in love with Nita, a young prostitute. A brilliantly conceived fable with a modern sensibility, Slumdog Millionaire is a comic and charming novel that paints an enthralling portrait of humanity.

Originally published as Q&A.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

When Ram Mohammad Thomas, an orphaned, uneducated waiter from Mumbai, wins a billion rupees on a quiz show, he finds himself thrown in jail. (Unable to pay out the prize, the program's producers bribed local authorities to declare Ram a cheater.) Enter attractive lawyer Smita Shah, to get Ram out of prison and listen to him explain, via flashbacks, how he knew the answers to all the show's questions. Indian diplomat 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, child abuse, murder). And just as the quiz show format is meant to distill his life story (each question prompts a separate flashback), Ram's life seems intended to distill 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. But Swarup's prose is sometimes flat and the story's picaresque form turns predictable. Ram is a likable fellow, but this q&a with him, though clever, grows wearying.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Swarup's inventive debut traces the fortunes of Ram Mohammad Thomas from "Asia's biggest slum" to his sudden acquisition of enormous wealth as the biggest winner on the popular quiz show, Who Will Win a Billion? A poor, uneducated waiter, Ram is arrested after the final episode in the belief that he must have cheated. In jail he shares his hardscrabble life with his lawyer: his abandonment at birth in a used clothing bin, the church orphanage where he was dubbed an "idiot orphan boy," the foster home where children were purposely crippled and forced to beg, the estate of an Australian diplomat who was really a spy, the home of an aging Bollywood actress, and his meager waiter job. Each chapter in Ram's life provided him with a correct answer on the show, as a la Forrest Gump, he has been in the right place at the right time. Ram's funny and poignant odyssey explores the causes of good and evil and illustrates how, with a little luck, the best man sometimes wins. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly hilarious and heartbreaking Jan. 9 2006
By Aldora
Format:Hardcover
The book is about a man who was brought to the police station and tortured because he had won 1 billion rupees (Indian currency) in a local Tv Show. He then told the story of his life that is related to each of the 12 questions asked in the show, to proove that for all of the questions asked, he knew the answers; even though there are many things in the world that he doesn't know of (like Bush is the US president).
The book is really funny and sad at the same time. It opens eyes about the reality of quality of living of poor people in India. A MUST READ. Worth my time :) I can't tell you anymore as you might not enjoy it as much as I did!
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5.0 out of 5 stars SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE July 22 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the book the movie is based on. A good read. Liked it so much I left it in the book room of a Florida b&b for someone else to enjoy.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not like the movie, but equally as good! Feb. 21 2009
By Nicky
Format:Paperback
I read the book after I saw the movie, and I couldn't believe how different the two are from each other. I loved the movie but I also absolutly loved the book. It was well written and flowed very well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book! May 8 2009
Format:Paperback
This was a really good book. Once I started it I couldn't put it down, read it in 2 days. A few days later I rented the DVD. Boy, what a disappointment! I recommend you read the book and skip the movie.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the movie... go figure May 4 2009
By Marbles
Format:Paperback
Slumdog Millionaire... after hearing all the hype about the movie, I decided to take a look. Then I discovered it was a book first so I ordered it from Amazon and just had to read it first... before watching the movie. I read it in maybe 3 days and just LOVED it! Then I watched the movie and it was so far from the novel that I couldn't beleive it... the movie wasn't that great but I guess I was comparing it to the book which was awesome! Now the book is making the rounds with my family and friends and they all love it too....
IMHO... read the book and skip the movie!
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1.0 out of 5 stars This Was so Bad! Oct. 20 2010
Format:Paperback
Me thinks this tired theme has so been done to death it's almost cliché.

This implausable Romeo and Juliet plot, disguised as a
deconstructionist tale of power imbalance perfectly
depicts our Western misunderstanding of other cultures. Not only that
but our fascinating with such "fluff", demonstrates more about our own moral impasse and spiritual malaise, than it does about the so-called genius of a cock-eyed author.(and later film director)

You see, the book is all about the older brother. Not the younger. That is most peoples first mistake on their understanding of this.
Even as boys, always the contrarian, the older brother finds himself
not only at odds not only with his brother, (and lea) but the Brahmin value structure and his society, and even himself. His steadfast refusal
to treat his brother nicely, and conform to the social order of the slum, by
is a not-to-thinly-veiled representation of his increasing love for Western
decadence. These early indicators made me yawn, and begin flipping pages knowing that this mean-spiritedness served mainly as a buttress to his nagging existential angst.

This little boy who is a mute bundle of suppressed rage,
is in another analogy of reincarnation of which the director
peppers throughout his story and most of his other works. Again recurring = predictable.
Anyhow, this thumbing his nose at brotherly values initially devastates his brother, but he eventually comes to realize that his nonconformity(shown later to grow even stronger as he becomes a hardened criminal) is of the same spiritual fabric as his social iconoclasm.
At first he embraces a rabid, radical form of socio-religious fascism. However this is short lived.
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