Questions and Topics for Discussion
1. How does this novel push back at traditional notions of what love looks like?
2. Why do you think Tina assumes her mother was responsible for the divorce? How does her relationship with her mother differ from that of her father?
3. Was there anything about this book’s depiction of India that you found surprising? Did it change your perspective on Indian culture at all?
4. Why do you think Tina is so set on marrying an Indian man? How does her struggle with her Indian-American identity inform her choices?
5. Which character did you identify with most and why?
6. How does the novel reflect class and privilege in India? How do class systems differ from or mirror those in the US?
7. After she helps a man who has ostensibly fallen out of his wheelchair, Tina feels “guilty that she felt pleased that she had helped the man.” She wonders whether there’s an “easy way” to interact with poverty (107). How do Tina’s attempts to be charitable occasionally backfire? What does this reflect about her own intentions and views of India? With Sid?
8. Tina says Rocco fit in in India so easily “when it seemed Tina didn’t fit in anywhere,” (81). Why do you think this is? What do you think it means to really belong somewhere?
9. Tina spends much of the novel searching for the “real” India while Mr. Das reflects at one point, “This wasn’t my India,” (109). How do characters prescribe personal meaning to India throughout the book? What does this say about how place impacts our memory and identity?
10. What do you think of Marianne’s relationship with Karan, and with Tina’s decision to book a flight for Tom? Do you think Marianne and Tom are right for each other?