Slumdog Milionaire
Vikas Swarup

A book club book. My reading has slowed down a bit recently: it seems that three out of my last four books by this stage have only been for the book club. It’s keeping me reading though. That seems worth it to me.

Slumdog Millionaire was a very enjoyable, easy read. I sat down and read it in a single sitting. Interestingly, it was a very hard book to get hold of. the movie had just hit the cinemas and was exploding. The book had been out of print in Australia for a little while, and none of the book shops had it in stock. They also didn’t seem to be aware that it had been rushed into re-print, with the new title. It was originally called Q&A, but my copy was titled Slumdog Millionaire to capitalise on the success of the movie, sot that’s what I’m reviewing it as. I hadn’t and still haven’t seen the movie. To be honest, though I enjoyed the book, reading it hasn’t made me desperately keen to see it.

It’s a fun read, but the main character, Ram Thomas Mohammed, is a complete everyman character, and not even a particularly interesting one. I couldn’t care less about him: his life and his love interest just didn’t grab me. His friend though, who disappears off-screen for most of the book, he was interesting. It felt odd, like sitting at a table where someone close by just keeps droning away at you. From down the table you keep catching fragments of a much more interesting story, but it’s getting drowned out by the bore in front of you.

I wanted to interrupt Ram/Thomas/Mohammed just to get him to shut up. I wanted to reach into the book just so I could shove him aside and hear the story of his friend. I’ve read a few by Rushdie and his microcosms of India are far more interesting. He is simply a better writer, so it’s a little unfair, but that’s why you read good books.