A small-time scam artist finds himself in a distant land and in a world of trouble. With limited options, he accepts the help of a local crime boss. And before you can blink, events spiral into a compelling yet unsettling battle between light and dark, love and lust, morality and corruption. This has all the ingredients of an intoxicating book club read. Here are some discussion points to ponder while you catch your breath.
Discussion points and questions:
- Sasha’s mama and Connor’s dad both want the best for their children but ultimately drive them away. What elements of their upbringing can be seen in Sasha and Connor’s behaviour over the course of the novel? Does it explain the choices they make?
- The present of the novel is set in an India where the influence of Westerners is keenly felt, from tourism and spirituality to drug trafficking and medical care. What did you make of the West’s incursions into these places? What about it attracts and repels the main characters?
- Sasha and Connor both grew up in low socio-economic households. How does this compare to the lives they lead in India?
- The guru says: ‘There is no place more holy than India. There is no place more miserable. These ideas are not unrelated.’ Is she right?
- Much of the novel interrogates the boundary between appearances and reality, between surface and underbelly. With that in mind, how real is Sasha and Connor’s romance?
- By the end of the novel both Sasha and Connor have made difficult, compromised decisions. Who is more selfish? Who is the better person?