Reading guide for A Breath of Fresh Air by Amulya Malladi

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

A Breath of Fresh Air

By Amulya Malladi

A Breath of Fresh Air
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: Jun 2002,
    224 pages.
    Paperback: Jun 2003,
    224 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Amulya Malladi chose to use the Bhopal gas leak of 1984, which killed 3,800 people and permanently disabled thousands more, as the key event within A Breath of Fresh Air. Given the license of a fiction writer to invent tragedy, why would an author like Malladi decide to use a real event instead?

  2. Does the reality behind such an event enhance or distract from the fictional story?

  3. Do you, as the reader, hold the author to different standards of verisimilitude when such an event appears in a novel?

  4. What is the effect of starting the novel with this terrifying event?

  5. How does Anjali’s role as the victim of such a tragedy change her life in subtle, unexpected ways (in addition to the major changes she experiences)?

  6. What is the meaning behind the title, beyond the obvious allusion to the gas leak?

  7. Malladi narrates her novel through three voices: those of Anjali, Sandeep, and Prakash. Why might she have made this decision as an author? What are some of the inherent benefits and risks of such a choice?

  8. Do you, as the reader, find the voice of each different character convincing? Why or why not?

  9. Think of another novel in which the author engages more than one narrative voice. In comparison to A Breath of Fresh Air, how does the author distinguish the different voices from one another, and do you find it as effective, less effective, or more effective?

  10. Given that the author grants more space to Anjali’s voice than to the voices of Prakash and Sandeep, did you find Anjali’s way of telling the story to be the most sympathetic? Or did you want to hear more from either or both of the other two?

  11. After the three major characters, which minor character did you find most crucial to the story’s central conflicts?
    Why?

  12. How did Anjali, Sandeep, and Prakash either maintain or subvert traditional gender roles within modern Indian society?

  13. What is the role of fantasy within the context of an arranged marriage such as Anjali’s to Prakash? Once her fantasies are inverted, how do they continue to play a role in Anjali’s life?

  14. How does materialism affect each main character, and how does the author show its presence?

  15. What is the range of emotions Anjali experiences after Prakash returns to her life, and how does the author illustrate each of these emotions?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Ballantine Books. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    The Valley of Amazement
    by Amy Tan
    "Mirror, Mirror on the wall
    I am my mother after all!"


    In my pre-retirement days as a professor ...
  • Book Jacket: A Man Called Ove
    A Man Called Ove
    by Fredrik Backman
    Reading A Man Called Ove was like having Christmas arrive early. Set in Sweden, this debut novel is ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Search
    by Geoff Dyer
    All hail the independent publisher! In May 2014, Graywolf Press brought two of long-revered British ...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

The Arsonist
by Sue Miller

Published Jun. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  131Tomlinson Hill:
    Chris Tomlinson

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.