In this exceptional, epic, multi-generational novel from award-winning Canadian/Sikh author Sohan Koonar, the lives of three characters in India intertwine from the advent of the Second World War to the beginning of modern time. Paper Lions traces the effects of war, independence, partition, and the younger generation on the ancient traditions and ways of life. Colourful, tragic, and absolutely riveting, Paper Lionsbrings historical India to itself in the lives of its characters.

Koonar writes, “None of the characters are from personal experience, however, the cultural/traditions/beliefs are from having lived them.  I was born into a Jat household, never let caste be my guide, and I am ashamed of the way women continue to be treated.  Thankfully India is slowly changing. Though I have not been back for about five years. I will spend a lot more time in the Punjab to finish the next two books in the Lions trilogy, the second of which will bring the story to Canada. and the mass migration of Sikh refugees fleeing persecution.“

“I want to give young Sikhs and Canadians a window into the Sikh faith and history. The facts of history do not lie, the atrocities committed on all sides during partition were real and horrific. I leave it to the reader to decide redemption for my characters living in extraordinary circumstances.”

Sohan S Koonar has lived on four continents: Asia, Africa, Europe and North America. A physiotherapist by training, a founder of a multi-clinic company, and an inventor with international patents, Sohan’s first love, writing, won him the Judges’ Choice Award in the Toronto Star Short Story Contest, and the first Burlington Library Literary Excellence Award. His previous novel, Karam’s Kismet drew mentions in 16 major dailies in the USA when it was published, and Netflix is presently reading the Paper Lions manuscript.

The award-winning, approachable, and fascinating Sohan Koonar is available to join your book club by Skype to answer any questions you have, or to join in the conversation.

  • What were your overall impressions of the book?
  • How long did it take you to read it?
  • How did the story and characters make you feel?
  • Would you recommend it as a great read? Which other great books does this book remind you of?
  • Did you flag any particular pieces from the book that resonated with you?
  • What is the main theme of the book? Was it plot based or character-driven?
  • What did you think of the writing style, the voices? Were they in the first, second or third person? Did it work? What did you think of the language and dialogue the author used?
  • Let’s talk about plot, was it well paced, was there conflict that was plausible? Did the structure of the book affect the story?
  • Characters, would you imagine that the author based characters on his life experience? Which was your favourite character?
  • What did you think of the relationships between the characters – the rivalries, love – did the relationships evolve, did any of them find redemption? What moral/ethical choices did the characters make? What did you think of those choices? How would you have chosen?
  • Which was your favourite character?
  • How authentic is the culture or era represented in the book? Did you learn something about the history of the Sikhs? What made the setting of the book unique?
  • How did you feel about the entrenched caste system described in the book? How did you feel about the way women were treated in the book?
  • Do you think things have changed in India since the Second World War when this novel took place? Did the author fairly represent the conflict and deeds committed on both sides of the conflict?
  • In what ways do the events in the books reveal evidence of the author’s world view?
  • Did certain parts of the book make you uncomfortable?
  • If this book was made into a movie, which actors could portray the main characters?
  • What are the questions you were left with at the end of the story? Were there any philosophical or moral implications to think about?
  • Finally, are you looking forward to the two upcoming books in the trilogy?
  • If you had to ask the author one question, what would it be?