Book Review: Q and A

Title: Q and A
Author: Vikas Swarup
Fiction, story based in India.

An exciting novel! The story revolves around a quiz show (and hence the name Q&A) and the lead character, who works as a waiter in a restaurant, and who wins the quiz show prize of Rs. 1 billion. The quiz organizers suspect foul-play and have the winner arrested. The rest of the book is about how he knew the answers to each of the questions, not by foul play but by a strange series of events in his life. The answer to each question has a story behind it. The author has ingeniously weaved a whole series of stories into one. Very creative and imaginative indeed! The book is fast paced and very engaging.

The book is quite “filmy”. In other words, it has a strong bollywood feel to it. Perhaps the author was considering a movie even while writing it (or maybe it began as an attempt at writing a movie script). Its a masala of sorts — gays, match-fixing, espionage, murder, robbery, romance, suicide, filmstars, child abuse, sex, prostitution, contract killing, incest, you name it– a comprehensive list of issues du jour are cleverly captured in the book as a part of the story.

Overall a very impressive and commendable effort for a debut novel. Most debut novels have an autobiographical side to it. But this book is the product of a hugely imaginitive mind and has little, and probably no autobiographical side to it.

The author is from the ministry of external affairs in India. Check out his interview.

Author: Pran Kurup

Pran Kurup is founder and CEO of Vitalect, Inc.

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