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How to Kidnap the Rich

'A joyous love/hate letter to contemporary Delhi' The Times

Rahul Raina



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Little Brown
11 May 2021
'How to Kidnap the Rich roars with brilliance, freshness and so much heart' KEVIN KWAN, author of Crazy Rich Asians Ramesh Kumar - examinations consultant - wakes up in a room he doesn't recognise. Next to him is spoilt brat Rudi, drunk and high on cocaine from another night of binging. Suddenly, two goons enter the room - they kidnap both boys and chop off Ramesh's pinky finger.

Rudi is a star - he took a national entrance exam for further education and came top in the whole of India. Or at least everyone in the country thinks he did. He has his own television show 'Beat the Brain' where he is pitted against India's bright young hopes, vying to be clever and get rich.

But behind the scenes of 'Beat the Brain', Ramesh, a chaiwallah's son from the streets of Delhi, feeds answers to Rudi through an earpiece. Because Ramesh isn't just an examination consultant, he takes exams on behalf of the children of wealthy people - parents who want their kids to go to Harvard, work at Google and live in America. He never intended to come top in the whole of India. He never meant to make stupid Rudi a star.

When someone discovers their secret, blackmail, kidnap and extortion are followed by national disgrace. How did things get so out of hand? Delhi has a dark side and it is closing in on Ramesh and Rudi, their fame, their cash and their cars, their hopes and dreams.
By:   Rahul Raina
Imprint:   Little Brown
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 152mm,  Spine: 26mm
Weight:   400g
ISBN:   9781408713334
ISBN 10:   1408713330
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   11 May 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Rahul Raina divides his time between Oxford and Delhi. He runs his own consultancy in England for part of the year, and works for charities for street children and teaches English in India in the down season.

Reviews for How to Kidnap the Rich: 'A joyous love/hate letter to contemporary Delhi' The Times

A fun, fast-paced debut...HBO and the Oscar-nominated actor and producer Riz Ahmed have wisely already bought the screen rights to this Delhi-set, society-skewering debut caper...Raina, 28, was inspired to write How to Kidnap the Rich by the US Varsity Blues admissions scandal, but it is his depiction of bustling, hustling Delhi and its grafting populace that makes this tightly written, fast-paced, often sharply savage societal satire such a rollicking read. He conjures up a memorable world that is ghee-greased, polluted, mired in dust and corruption, but also thrusting...An impressively entertaining but also insightful debut * Sunday Times * A joyous love/hate letter to contemporary Delhi . . . Genuine feeling flows beneath the potty-mouthed satire as it gradually spirals into farce. Rahul Raina suggests life may be a relentless parade of fear , but it is far better to laugh than cry * The Times (The month's best crime novels) * Social commentary meets standup comedy, as with a biting wit reminiscent of Binyavanga Wainaina's essay How to Write About Africa or Paul Beatty's Booker-winner The Sellout, Raina stretches stereotype and cliche into incisive satire * Guardian * India's politicians, endemic corruption, national obsession with the West and above all its super-rich come in for a bashing in How to Kidnap the Rich...what stands out in this book is its unapologetic depiction of a Delhi that's frankly a bit rubbish...But there's a fondness in this biting negativity, which convinces more than the graceful descriptive passages of other India-set novels. Chuck in twists and double-crossings, just the right amount of violence and a denouement in a besieged TV studio and you can't fail to be entertained * Novel of the Week, Sunday Telegraph * A satire, a love story and a thriller, How To Kidnap The Rich by Rahul Raina has shades of The Talented Mr Ripley that also casts an unerring eye over the huge disparity in Indian society. A rollercoaster of a read, this is going to be big * Stylist * [A] savage cinematic caper . . . In Rahul Raina's satirical state-of-the-nation debut, which slices into the soul of contemporary Indian society, things aren't always the way they appear . . . Social commentary meets stand-up comedy, as with a biting wit reminiscent of Binyavanga Wainaina's essay How to Write About Africa or Paul Beatty's Booker-winner The Sellout, Raina stretches stereotype and cliche into incisive satire -- Sana Goyal * Guardian * Rahul Raina's How to Kidnap the Rich has already been optioned by HBO: a Delhi-set, reality TV-based literary crime crossover, it will appeal to fans of Parasite and Crazy Rich Asians * Daily Mail * Fans of My Sister the Serial Killer, Parasite and Crazy Rich Asians will be enthralled by this riotous tale from the very first line . . . A hugely entertaining and unique debut that satirically dissects India's inequalities * Cosmopolitan * A wild and wildly funny ride through a modern day India that pits the poor against the rich, high tech against ancient traditions and one smart hustler against anyone who gets in his way * Red magazine * An exciting blend of crime caper, satire, love story and social commentary...Raina, who was born in Delhi, neatly skewers the inequalities of Indian society, racism (education is merely a tool to a whiter life ), sexism, and celebrity...Along with the fast-paced twists, Raina also satirises the state of modern India: the repercussions of the ongoing rivalry with Pakistan; the spectre of China as the predominant world superpower; the shallowness of modern culture; and the country's pervasive corruption. * May's Best Reads, Independent * Through a thrilling cross-sectional tale - that feels like a crime caper-meets-reality TV show-meets-time-hopping love story - Raina lets loose a real rollercoaster of a read, complete with a delightful twist * Apple Books Best of the Month * Sparky satire on modern India . . . a lot of fun * Sainsburys magazine * Rahul Raina's voice crackles with wit and the affecting exuberance of youth. His ripping good story grabs you on page one and doesn't let go, taking you on a monstrously funny and unpredictable wild ride through a thousand different Delhis at top speed. How To Kidnap the Rich roars with brilliance, freshness and so much heart -- Kevin Kwan, author of CRAZY RICH ASIANS Intelligent, witty and sublime. I'm hooked. Remember the name. You'll be hearing more of it in future -- Abir Mukherjee, author of A RISING MAN Brutally funny and fast-paced, this debut from Rahul Raina proves he is a star in the making -- Nikesh Shukla White Tiger meets Caddyshack the movie in Raina's lively novel, brimming with rat-a-tat-tat wit, breezy prose and a keen observation of colorism, casteism and social inequity. Unputdownable! -- Alka Joshi, NYT bestselling author of The Henna Artist Raina's debut novel lives up to its billing as a fun caper and social satire thanks to strong characterisation, a fast-paced plot and an eye for the ridiculous. His delicious skewering of the social mores of Delhi's uber-rich and clear-eyed rendering of India's social hierarchy propel sheer entertainment into striking elucidation in the mode of Aravind Adiga -- Shoba Viswanathan * Booklist * With its witty, ruthless skewering of the Indian middle classes, Rahul Raina's roistering, whip-smart and deliciously fun Delhi-set crime caper, How to Kidnap the Rich, is the first great state-of-the-subcontinent novel of the 21st century * The Bookseller * Reading How to Kidnap the Rich by Rahul Raina was like being put in a sports car with no seat belt. Rakesh Kumar, the protagonist, gets your attention in minutes . . . How to Kidnap the Rich promises wit, satire, strange twists and will leave you entertained, frantically turning page after page . . . This one's a wild ride -- Resh Susan * The Book Satchel * [An] exciting plot . . . [a] funny and touching satirical action thriller, in a setting that feels very fresh * Morning Star *

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