Saturday, February 21, 2009

You've Seen the Movie...

...Now read the book! Oh, you haven't seen the movie yet? Well, you can always read the book first. Yes, it's true. We have Slumdog Millionaire -- originally published as Q&A -- by Vikas Swarup in paperback. And tomorrow night the world will find out if the movie magic continues with a Best Picture Oscar. Or Best Director. Or any of the other ten nominations this movie has racked up.

Vikas Swarup's spectacular 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.

When Q&A was first published, the reviewers had this to say: "A wonderful debut novel." "A fast-paced read that will leave you satisfyingly stunned." "A delightful, fast-paced fairy tale." "A fun and rollicking adventure." "A story endowed with all the emotional richness and moral ambiguities of a Mumbai street scene." "An inventive piece of social commentary." I am off to see the movie tonight, so I can't pass along my verdict yet, but I have listened to the soundtrack from the movie four times in a row as I worked at the store today, so I can definitely endorse it! I've seen both "The Reader" and "Milk," and this will have to be one heck of a fine movie to top either of those!

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