Skip to main content

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions

The World We Found

1.THE WORLD WE FOUND is the story of four close friends --- Armaiti, Kavita, Laleh, and Nishta --- separated by time and the detours of life. Compare and contrast the four friends both as students and as adults. What does their friendship mean to them? What is the significanceof Armaiti in each of these women's lives?

2.Explain the meaning of the novel's title, THE WORLD WE FOUND. How is it reflected in the book's themes and its characters?

3.How have the lives of these women changed? As young university students, all had dreams for the future. How did reality match with those young dreams? Why did things work out --- or not --- for each of them? What dreams did you have in childhood and youth? How do they compare to the reality of your life today?

4.As students, the quartet fought to change their homeland. Describe their India then and now. Is today's India the kind of place they demonstrated, marched, and argued for? What happened to their activist spirit? What is activism? Were the women still socially involved and aware at middle age? Can we ever escape the compromises that threaten our values? How do we hold onto our idealism in the face of change, or must it inevitably fade, as youth does?

5.When Kavita and Laleh visit Nishta early in the novel, she confesses to them, 'I don't usually feel sorry for myself. It's just that seeing both of you is reminding me of the gap between my life as it is and what I'd dreamed it would be.' How do we reconcile ourselves to those gaps? How can we bridge them? How did these characters?

6.The four friends harbor secrets large and small. What are they and how have they affected each of their lives? What happens when those secrets are revealed?

7.Armaiti shocks and angers everyone when she decides not to endure chemo, arguing that she 'must live on my own terms.' What do you think of her decision? Her daughter calls her selfish. Is she, or is her daughter selfish for not understanding her wishes?

8.All those years ago Nishta was proud to have a Muslim boyfriend and then husband. Does she still feel that way? What has her love for Iqbal given her? What has it cost her?

9.Talk about Kavita. What holds her back from embracing who she is? Are her fears justified? How does her silence shape her life? What motivates her to break free of her fear?

10.What are your impressions of Laleh? Why is it so important for her to gather her friends and visit Armaiti in America? Has she changed the most --- or the least --- of the four friends?

11.Do you agree with the women's plan to intervene in Nishta's life? By saving Nishta, were they saving a part of themselves as well?

The World We Found
by Thrity Umrigar

  • Publication Date: January 3, 2012
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0061938343
  • ISBN-13: 9780061938344