The World We Found Discussion – Other Topics

The World We Found by Thrity Umrigar deals with many timely topics, some of which I haven’t covered in our discussions so far.  This is a catch-all post to discuss those issues, as well as whatever might be lingering on your mind about the book.  Feel free to answer any, or all, of the questions in the comments, or share your own thoughts on things we haven’t talked about.

  1. Kavita is a lesbian, but has hidden her sexual identity from those closest to her because her country’s views on homosexuality are harsh.  Why does Kavita believe her personal struggle is less important than the socialist causes she used to protest for?
  2. Iqbal is perhaps the most complicated character in the book.  It’s true he’s been through horrors, but do they justify what he’s done to the women in his life?  What were your feelings on him?
  3. “In the end, what matters is what remains.”  This is a lingering theme in the book – what does it mean to you?
  4. Why did Thrity Umrigar choose to end the book where she did – on the flight to see Armaiti, rather than her death?  Did Umrigar want to keep their friendship alive for the reader, through the end of the book and beyond?

Please feel free to answer any or all of these questions in your comments, as well as expound on your thoughts about the book as a whole.  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.

Thanks for participating, and I hope you’ve enjoyed yourselves!

Comments

  1. I finally read the book! Woo!

    What happened to Iqbal at the end KILLED ME. His actions infuriated me, but I also felt sympathetic towards him a lot of the time. This probably belongs more in the religion thread, but I had mixed feelings about the way Islam was portrayed throughout the book, and Iqbal’s ending was just devastating. It stayed with me. Complicated, indeed.

    The overall ending was unexpected, but appropriate–it seemed very fitting to reassert that the book was about the journey, rather than the end. I loved it.

  2. I finally read the book! Woo!

    What happened to Iqbal at the end KILLED ME. His actions infuriated me, but I also felt sympathetic towards him a lot of the time. This probably belongs more in the religion thread, but I had mixed feelings about the way Islam was portrayed throughout the book, and Iqbal’s ending was just devastating. It stayed with me. Complicated, indeed.

    The overall ending was unexpected, but appropriate–it seemed very fitting to reassert that the book was about the journey, rather than the end. I loved it.

  3. 1) It seems to be two things. The first is that it’s easy to be offended on behalf of something that doesn’t actually affect you. We can be indignant on behalf of others, but when the stakes are personal and could have negative consequences (like Kavita’s loss of friends and career) it is harder to take on. I think it also feel selfish to her. It’s one thing to fight for a big cause that affects many people, but do you really need to be fought for? It may seem like there are bigger injustices.
    2)I don’t think Iqbal’s actions are justified, but I think that Ms. Umrigar did an excellent job of making him accessible. He’s not a monster, he’s a conflicted man who can’t find a solution to the problems in his life.
    4) I was upset when I turned the last page. I was ready to go to America and see their reunion. How would the friends help Armaiti? How would they care for her daughter? It’s a testament to the writing that I wanted to read more about all of these characters. However, on further reflection, this was a good place to end the novel. It’s tough to end a book with death. That seems almost like a sequel – how do the women who are left behind deal with this? Thrity Umrigar, are you reading this? Please?

  4. 1) It seems to be two things. The first is that it’s easy to be offended on behalf of something that doesn’t actually affect you. We can be indignant on behalf of others, but when the stakes are personal and could have negative consequences (like Kavita’s loss of friends and career) it is harder to take on. I think it also feel selfish to her. It’s one thing to fight for a big cause that affects many people, but do you really need to be fought for? It may seem like there are bigger injustices.
    2)I don’t think Iqbal’s actions are justified, but I think that Ms. Umrigar did an excellent job of making him accessible. He’s not a monster, he’s a conflicted man who can’t find a solution to the problems in his life.
    4) I was upset when I turned the last page. I was ready to go to America and see their reunion. How would the friends help Armaiti? How would they care for her daughter? It’s a testament to the writing that I wanted to read more about all of these characters. However, on further reflection, this was a good place to end the novel. It’s tough to end a book with death. That seems almost like a sequel – how do the women who are left behind deal with this? Thrity Umrigar, are you reading this? Please?

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