Note from Damyanti
My hope for this book is that it entertains you, but also provides you with points of interest. Social inequities, unrequited love and second chances—all form the warp and weft of this novel.
I would love to virtually connect with your discussion group.
Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work to set something up.
Thank you for reading!
Book Club Questions for The Blue Bar
- How do you think Tara and Arnav’s childhoods—particularly their relationships to their parents—have shaped them? How have their parents’ choices influenced their own desires and ambitions? When you were young, which parts of your parent’s lives and interests did you want to emulate? Were there any that you would have liked to avoid?
- Throughout the novel, there are flashes of memory. How do you think our memories affect our present lives? How reliable are our memories? Why do we tend to remember some events from our past so closely, and others not at all?
- The novel takes place in Mumbai. What aspects of the characters’ lives are unique to the city and the country, and which of their experiences are universal? How does this novel differ from novels set in the Europe and the USA? What aspects of this novel felt unfamiliar?
- What are the themes of the novel that struck you? One is, of course, the idea of second chances, and the other of family—what makes a family and what breaks it, but what other themes can you think of?
- Mumbai is many cities rolled into one. How does the city differ in the view of the various characters? How do you see Mumbai as depicted in the novel?
- The chapters in this book have been written from the point-of-view of different characters. How did this shape your experience of reading The Blue Bar? Would you have preferred to have a first person, or single, point of view?
- There is the use of Indian languages throughout the book. How did that affect your experience of the narrative?
- How would you describe each main character’s transformation over the course of the novel? Do you have a favorite character, and why that one in particular?
- A question for those of you who have read the previous book by the same author: Female characters are important in both the novels. How do You Beneath Your Skin and The Blue Bar compare when seen through the feminist lens?
- Since this is a crime novel, how do you resonate with the concept of justice depicted in this particular setting? How does it compare with where you live?
- “Endings are overrated. There’s only one true, certain end—everything else a load of bullshit, or how you call it, bakwaas. Beginnings, though. Beginnings are everywhere.” These are the first lines of the novel. Do you agree with that sentiment? How did the novel deal with beginnings and endings?
- Within the book’s setting, there’s a pervasive sense that the women deserve what they get—their deaths are not important to anyone but the investigator. How do you respond to the belief in their society that their way of life makes them less worthy?