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Three Bargains: A Novel
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Three Bargains: A Novel

3.85  ·  Rating Details ·  222 Ratings  ·  71 Reviews
A tale of fathers and sons, the ties that bind, and the barriers of class that even love cannot break, Three Bargains is a stunning first novel, as potent, heart-stopping, and epic as Khaled Hosseini's The Kite Runner.

By the banks of the River Yamuna in northern India, where rice paddies of basmati merge into fields of sugarcane, twelve-year-old Madan lives with his impove
Hardcover, 368 pages
Published August 11th 2014 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Jul 15, 2014 Zoeytron rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I found this debut novel by Tania Malik to be a stirring tale of a young boy's journey into manhood, and all that it implies. The writing is first-rate, the prose moving and thought provoking, and the characters finely etched.

In likening the city of Dehli to life, the author notes that in life there is order, and in this order, chaos. That just seems right on the button to me. Such vivid imagery was a pleasure to read, words that fell gently, yet landed with a thousand pinpricks, 'a town no big
Jul 08, 2014 Lisa rated it really liked it
"Sometimes a storm comes and knocks just one tree down, and sometimes the same storm lifts away your house and takes everything with it." It was a close to the truth as he could get.

Three Bargains is Tania Malik's debut novel, but you would never suspect it. It's as eloquent, painful, and gritty a story as you could possibly imagine. The descriptions of the country and culture made me feel like I was there, for better or worse. This is a surprising (and often times shocking) novel of desperation
Dec 16, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
This, the authors first novel, though not perfect was still very compelling and well thought out. 'There is one place we go first before all others, to the one man with whom, as we all do with the great cosmic giver-and-taker above, I bargained three times—once for my family, once for my life and then for you. He is the beginning of your story and mine'.... I loved this quote and it conveys very well the feeling that I'll take away from this novel. I think it's a pretty safe bet that if you were ...more
Nov 06, 2015 Matt rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, fiction
Set in northern India, “Three Bargains” is decorated with many colorful, not always familiar, words. So many that I underlined them in pencil, when I normally don’t like to write in books, and made my own kind of glossary, thanks to Wikipedia and Wiktionary. Food, clothing, occupations, religious and cultural practices are among these words new to me, yet the clarity of the writing and story-telling is remarkable. Reading about Madan, Avtaar Singh, Jaggu, all of the characters – their ...more
Jul 13, 2014 Kira rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
Wonderful. This book has it all, violence, heart, mystery, and sheer determination/stubbornness of Madan, the main character. I found this book really enjoyable and great in so many ways. Madan proves that not every person is all good, or all bad. He has enough hints of evil in his character to flaw him from being purely good. He has compassion and heart. The underlying theme in this book for me was acceptance. Madan just wanted acceptance from so many players in his life, mom, "dad", ...more
Sep 13, 2016 Michelle rated it really liked it
This was an emotionally complex story with vivid imagery and intricate characters. A compelling story which pulled me in immediately.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via a Goodreads giveaway. Many thanks to all involved in providing me with this opportunity.
Jun 30, 2014 Rachel rated it it was ok
I won an ARC copy of Three Bargains in a giveaway here on Goodreads. Based on reviews from other early readers and the advertisements making comparisons to books like Slumdog millionaire and The Kite Runner, I had high expectations. Unfortunately, I think the high expectations were the undoing of this story.

It is difficult to hold up such a new author like Malik against such literary greats as Khaled Hosseini. I also recently read Jhumpa Lahiri's new novel, and that woman is such a wordsmith th
Karen Klein
Jun 14, 2014 Karen Klein rated it it was amazing
NOTE: I won this from Goodreads in exchange for an honest review.

Absolutely wonderful book, and as this is a debut novel from this author, I will definitely be looking forward to reading more from her! Her writing is wonderful and flows beautifully. I love reading books that are based in India; there is just something that fascinates me about the country and the people. I'm not sure if I will get to India in this lifetime, but with an author who writes as descriptively about the country and the
Jul 03, 2014 Jim rated it really liked it
As this novel begins, the reader is introduced to Madan Kumar. He is a twelve year old boy from a poor family, with an abusive father, who has just moved to the factory town of Gorapur, in India. Madan meets his father’s boss, Avtaar Singh, who not only runs the factory, but the town as well. Singh almost instantly recognizes Madan as someone with the potential to rise above the class he was born into. Instead of starting a job as a tea wallah, as his father had arranged, Madan is sent to school ...more
Jul 02, 2014 Jenni rated it really liked it
Three bargains is the compelling story about the life of a Indian man trying to find his way despite the challenges life throws at him. Three times in his life he encounters radical confrontations that change him and his outlook. It is also a story of the admiration a boy feels for the man who raises him and then later the struggles he has to go through to break away from this man.
As a young boy the antagonist moves with his mother and sister to his father, a violent alcoholic. The drama that en
Jul 13, 2014 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, contemporary
I was a goodreads first reads winner of "Three Bargains" by Tania Malik. the main character in this book is "Madan" the novel starts in 1983 when Madan is 12 years old and follows his story up to current times. three Bargains takes place in India. Madan and his family are poor from age 12 he tries to get jobs to help support his family, his father is drunk and abusive and even commits an unspeakable act toward his family. Madan is the boy who has to "bargain" for his life and family. he ...more
May 20, 2015 Katherine rated it it was amazing
This book is a difficult one to rank. It is extremely well written, but some parts of it are very violent. After the first few chapters, it was very hard for me to put down. The main character, Madan is child of a very poor family, whose father is an abusive, drunk, gambler. When the father trades Madan's six year old sister for a forgiven debt, it almost destroys the family.
Madan's fortunes change for the better when the town's wealthiest citizen takes him under his wing, pays for his schooling
Nov 12, 2014 Barbara rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone
This ARC book was a giveaway from you.

I loved every beautiful word of this excellent book!
The story takes place in India and the main character is 12 year old Madan who lives in poverty with his family. His life begins to change when he meets Avtaar Singh the richest man in the town of Gorapur and they develop a relationship that is both loving and violent. This book is riveting in its brutality and heartache and you won't be able to stop reading it. I'm keeping my review s
Jun 30, 2014 Mike rated it it was amazing
this was a great book. I read it in 2 sittings and was enthralled the entire time. telling the story of Madan's rise from poverty to riches, from owned to owner, it is captivating and well written. reminds me of books by Khaled Hosseini, author of A Thousand Splendid Suns. themes of friendship, marriage, loss, grief, abuse, and triumph over adversity are masterly interwoven which makes a great read.
Jun 25, 2014 Christina rated it did not like it
Shelves: first-reads
I won this book from Goodreads. I really thought I would love this book. Especially since it said, it was for fans of The Kite Runner and Slumdog Millionaire, which I am a fan of both. I did not connect with any of the characters and the different story lines felt disconnected at times. The story did not hold my interest and I often thought of not finishing the book.
Dec 06, 2015 Diane rated it really liked it
I LOVED this book - about a boy in northern India - can hardly believe this is the author's debut novel! Could hardly put it down. The characters are unforgettable. Highly recommend this book.
Sep 14, 2014 Kookie rated it really liked it
Great story. Can't help but think it would make an excellent Bollywood movie (my mind cast Ranveer Singh in the lead). Very touching ending, too. Highly recommended.
Jan 03, 2015 Lizzy rated it liked it
sometimes hard to follow but an interesting story
Gayatri Sunaharan
Nov 06, 2016 Gayatri Sunaharan rated it it was amazing
I just loved the book and it's characters. The story was gripping till the end. I did not leave the book till I finished it. One of my best reads ..
Aug 28, 2014 TheLiterarium rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a review.
This review was originally posted at my blog: The Literarium

First, I must say that Indian literature is my favorite genre, it's my area of expertise, and when this book was promoted as being in the same vein as Slumdog Millionaire (Swarup, Q&A), I was immediately intrigued. However, it's important to note that Three Bargains goes much deeper than Millionaire, to me--much deeper--and I feel that it's leagu

I am not sure I know exactly what to say about what I just read but I am going to try.

This "rags to riches" tale was extremely heartbreaking to read, but also beautiful in ways and beautifully written. It is is difficult for me wrap my mind around the fact that this is Malik's first novel.

We start out on our journey through Madan's life when he is twelve years old. He is dirt poor, is living with his family and grandfather in servant's quarters under the man {Avtaar Singh} who pre
I can't believe I incurred $1.00 in fines to finish reading this book. It wasn't worth it.
May 19, 2015 Melinda rated it really liked it
This was an interesting book to read and a somewhat difficult book to review. It was an engrossing story and kept my attention from the first page. However, I can't say that I always enjoyed reading it. But, then again, I don't believe that the author meant for this book to be enjoyable.

Madan is an interesting character--he almost strikes me as being Dickensian. He's very dynamic as he coasts the arc of this rags to riches to rags to riches to....(I'm not going to tell you how it ends up!). I di
Karen M
Sep 09, 2016 Karen M rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, own, fiction
It’s hard to believe that this is a first book for the author. To put it plainly, it was a very enjoyable read. The journey of the main character, Madan, is powerful and fascinating to follow. From an abused childhood of near poverty to being a self-made powerful businessman is always an intriguing story but the wonderful details are what make this book truly interesting and hard to put down.

Slumdog Millionaire is mentioned by a number of reviews but to me this is only on the surface. There is n
Sara Smith
Jun 28, 2014 Sara Smith rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Penny (Literary Hoarders)
I would be wrong in saying this book surprised me - because that's not what happened at all - this is definitely something in my wheelhouse of books that I would pick up, so I guess what I would say is that this was a very good story. I would give the audiobook however more of a 3.5 star rating. And while the narrator did an excellent job of giving distinction to the different characters with authentic accents and all, I really never could shake that he was reading it like he would to a group of ...more
Aug 17, 2014 Liz rated it liked it
I received this book through a goodreads giveaway and I enjoyed it. The author did a good job telling the story and building up the characters. However, I felt lost at times not knowing exactly where the author was going with the story. It was supposed to be about a boy who bargained three times to end up in his current present, but those bargains weren't revealed until the end, and during that time I was left out in the dark wondering when the book was going to get to the point. When the ...more
Dec 05, 2014 Tara rated it it was amazing
I won this book in a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway and was so excited. The author's cultural and geographical background alone(born in New Delhi, educated in boarding schools in the Himalayas, and raised in India, Africa, and the Middle East. She received her degree from the University of Delhi and currently lives in northern California)intrigued me and I had heard great things about this book from a friend of mine. I was not disappointed in the least. It is the kind of story that, to be given ...more
RoseMary Achey
Dec 27, 2014 RoseMary Achey rated it really liked it
Following a desperately poor 12 year old Indian boy into adulthood, this novel will keep your attention throughout all 358 pages. This young boy has a family; a hard working mother, grandfather, sister and low-life father. When the father's actions negatively impact the family, the boy, Madan, must make the first of three bargains with a rich and powerful business owner.

Each of the three bargains represent a major turning point both for the novel and for Madan's life, While the prose is not as
Aug 26, 2014 Cathy rated it it was amazing
Written by my good friend Tania Malik. While I can't pretend to be unbiased I can tell you I loved this book. Set in India of the 80s and 90s, a young boy must make difficult decisions that allow him to rise above his servant family origins and make his fortune. In adulthood, however, a great personal loss forces him to reexamine all of his priorities as he searches for new motivation to go on living. This story is told in simple, yet elegant prose which, to my American ear, with its blend of ...more
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Tania Malik was born in New Delhi, educated in boarding schools in the Himalayas, and raised in India, Africa, and the Middle East. She received her degree from the University of Delhi and currently lives in northern California with her husband, daughter, and dog. Three Bargains is her first novel.
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