The World We Found Discussion – Money and Power

Welcome to the readalong and book club discussion of The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar.  Today we are discussing the themes of money and its relationship to power and respect, as presented in the novel as a whole. 

In The World We Found, the theme of money and its relationship to power and respect seems omnipresent.  While Laleh and Adish are wealthy, Iqbal and Nishta are poor.  Iqbal firmly believes that money buys respect, and he is treated badly because he has little.

  1. Sometimes Iqbal believes he is treated badly because he’s Muslim; at other times, he blames his lack of money.  Is he right on either of these accounts, or both?
  2. Armaiti tells Laleh that she’s leaving India because she’s tired of feeling guilty when she spends money.  Adish thinks Laleh is ashamed by her wealthy lifestyle.  Why is this the case?
  3. Money didn’t matter when this group was in college, yet now it is so important.  Why does Iqbal say “he had been deluded by all the bullshit talk of comradeship and equality”?  Is that true, or was it something more?
  4. Iqbal insults Armaiti for having married a rich American, saying that he won’t mourn her passing.  Why does Armaiti’s cancer matter less to Iqbal than Umar, who is a post office worker and has lung cancer?  Why does he disdain those who have money, yet seem jealous of Adish’s good fortunes?
  5. Iqbal thinks money solves all problems, and in the end, it looks as though he’s right.  The policemen listen to Adish because he has money and the power to do something for them and Iqbal doesn’t.  What does it cost Adish to take advantage of this, and what does it do to Iqbal? In the end, Adish thinks he can make amends by offering Iqbal a job.  What does this say about Adish?  Was Iqbal right all along?

Please feel free to answer any or all of these questions in your comments, as well as expound on your thoughts about money in the book.  If you’re new to this readalong and would like more information or to see the rest of the discussion posts, please visit my landing page for The World We Found discussion.  Please be sure to check back on Thursday, when we’ll wrap up our discussion.

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