A Long Way Home


Saroo Brierley

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A Long Way Home Characters

Saroo Brierley

The author and narrator of the book, Saroo was born “Sheru” in the central Indian town of Khandwa. He admires his mother Kamla, and his older brothers Guddu and Kallu. When he’s about… read analysis of Saroo Brierley

Mum / Sue Brierley

Mum (Sue Brierley) is Saroo’s adoptive mother. She grew up in a home with a volatile father, and her early experiences helped her form the opinion that there’s nothing particularly special about families formed… read analysis of Mum / Sue Brierley


Kamla is Saroo’s birth mother. She married Saroo’s birth father when she was nineteen, and it was an unconventional marriage: Kamla was Hindu, while her husband was Muslim. They had four children, Gudduread analysis of Kamla

Dad / John Brierley

Dad (John Brierley) is Saroo’s adoptive father. He runs an industrial hose business in Hobart, Tasmania, where both Mantosh and Saroo work as adults. Dad was born in England and moved to Australia as… read analysis of Dad / John Brierley


Mantosh is Saroo’s little brother; the Brierleys also adopt him from India. Unlike Saroo, Mantosh’s birth parents are still in the picture when he arrives at ISSA, which proves problematic: due to the fact… read analysis of Mantosh
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Saroo’s Birth Father

Saroo’s birth father is a Muslim man, and unnamed in the book. He’s mostly absent for Saroo’s childhood because when Kamla was pregnant with Shekila, he decided to take a second wife. He… read analysis of Saroo’s Birth Father


Guddu is Kamla’s oldest son. As a child, Saroo looks up to him and desperately wants to be like him. At a very young age, Guddu begins trying to find work, though he’s arrested… read analysis of Guddu


Kallu is one of Saroo’s brothers; he’s a few years older than Saroo. He and Guddu often ride trains to neighboring towns to work, and Kallu takes on the role of caretaker for Guddu… read analysis of Kallu


Shekila is Saroo’s baby sister. Kamla is pregnant with her when Saroo’s birth father effectively leaves the family, and when Saroo is around four years old, he’s put in charge of caring for her… read analysis of Shekila

Mrs. Saroj Sood

Mrs. Sood founded the ISSA adoption agency in Calcutta in 1975 after facilitating one adoption within India and one adoption by a Swedish woman. She received a law degree in New Delhi and was trained… read analysis of Mrs. Saroj Sood


Lisa and Saroo begin dating right as he picks up his search his hometown on Google Earth. They live together in Hobart, and she overwhelmingly supports him in his desire to find his family… read analysis of Lisa


Asra is Saroo’s closest friend in the Nava Jeevan orphanage in Calcutta. They’re about the same age, and Asra is adopted by a couple in Victoria at the same time the Brierleys adopt Saroo… read analysis of Asra

The Railway Worker

The railway worker is a Howrah Station employee who lives in a shack with other railway workers in the trainyard of Howrah Station. Though he initially seems kind when he “rescues” Saroo, gives him… read analysis of The Railway Worker

The Friend

The mysterious friend of the railway worker. Though the railway worker insists that his friend is going to help Saroo, Saroo understands immediately that the men aren’t to be trusted: the friend asks… read analysis of The Friend

The Teenager

The teenager is a young man who takes Saroo in for several days in Calcutta. He allows Saroo to work with him and finally takes Saroo to the police station and turns him over to… read analysis of The Teenager

The Homeless Man

The homeless man twice saves Saroo from drowning in the Hooghly River. Saroo learns absolutely nothing about this man, why he was watching Saroo, and why he chose to save him. He does wonder if… read analysis of The Homeless Man

The Mother

The mother is a young woman in Calcutta who houses and feeds Saroo for a night. Despite her kindness, she’s also physically violent towards Saroo and her son, the little boy: she throws a… read analysis of The Mother


Josef is Mum’s father. He was Polish and a part of the Resistance during World War Two. The experience disturbed him and eventually led him to extreme alcoholism. He married Julie in Germany and… read analysis of Josef


Julie is Mum’s mother; she and her family were Hungarian and fled the Nazis during World War Two. She married Josef at age nineteen, and they moved to Australia not long after. She had… read analysis of Julie
Minor Characters
Rochak is a lawyer in Khandwa and the administrator of the Facebook group “Khandwa: My Home Town.” He’s instrumental in helping Saroo figure out the “Ginestlay” mystery and later, helps arrange Saroo’s trips to both Khandwa and Burhanpur.
One of Saroo’s friends at the Australian International Hotel School. Her father worked for Indian Railways, so she relays Saroo’s questions about railway lines to him.
Saleen and Jacob
Saleen and Jacob are an Indian couple in Hobart. The Brierleys have dinner with them often after they adopt Saroo, as they speak Hindi and can help relay information before Saroo has a firm grasp of English.
A friend in Hobart who invites Saroo to move in after Saroo breaks up with his girlfriend. Byron is often out and has extremely fast internet that Saroo uses.
Cheryl helps Saroo and Kamla translate when Saroo returns to Khandwa. Her father was British, so she speaks fluent English.
Swarnima is a young Indian woman who helps Saroo translate when he returns to Khandwa. She helps him buy his train ticket to Kolkata.
Mrs. Medhora
Mrs. Medhora is a social worker at ISSA. Saroo meets her when he returns to visit Mrs. Sood.
Baba is the local holy man in Khandwa. When Saroo is a child, Baba talks to him about the future and occasionally gives him food.
Aunty Ula
Aunty Ula is a Swedish woman in Calcutta who teaches Saroo and other boys from the Nava Jeevan orphanage how to eat at a table with silverware.
Abdul and Musa
Abdul and Musa are two Indian children that ISSA places in adoptions in Australia several months before Saroo’s adoption.
The Little Boy
The little boy is about Saroo’s age and introduces Saroo to his mother. They care for Saroo for a night in Calcutta.