A Long Way Home


Saroo Brierley

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A Long Way Home Themes

Themes and Colors
Family Theme Icon
Memory, Technology, and Friendship Theme Icon
Survival, Poverty, and Childhood Theme Icon
Human Kindness Theme Icon
Destiny, Chance, and Luck Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in A Long Way Home, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.


A Long Way Home tells the story of Saroo Brierley, an Australian man who was adopted from India when he was a child. At five years old, Saroo boarded a train from his hometown in rural India with his older brother, Guddu. Due to a misunderstanding, Saroo ended up taking a solo 24-hour journey all the way to Calcutta, where he spent weeks begging and living on the streets before being taken into…

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Memory, Technology, and Friendship

After Mum and Dad adopt five-year-old Saroo, he is secretly meticulous about regularly running through his memories of his family in India, his terrifying experience on the train to Calcutta, and the weeks he spent begging there, all in case it ever becomes possible for him to use his memories to reconnect with his birth family. However, even before his adoption, while he's at the orphanage in Calcutta, Saroo discovers that his memory isn't…

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Survival, Poverty, and Childhood

As Saroo describes his early childhood in India, he poignantly asserts that growing up hungry and in poverty fundamentally shapes people's lives and can have a brutal effect on their childhoods. He recalls in horrific detail how little his family had to eat, as well as the risks he took to steal scraps of food whenever he could. However awful growing up in poverty was, however, Saroo also links the skills he developed during his…

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Human Kindness

At its heart, Saroo's memoir is a story of kindness—his narration lingers on people who were kind to him as a child in Khandwa, while roaming the streets of Calcutta, and then his adoptive parents in Australia. Because of these kind people who made his survival and later successes possible, Saroo positions his memoir as a meditation on the positive effects of small and large kindnesses. He overwhelmingly asserts that he and other fortunate…

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Destiny, Chance, and Luck

Though Saroo asserts that being raised outside of the Hindu religion he was born into means that he grew up believing that fate and destiny aren't actually real, he does take great pains to acknowledge moments when destiny appears to have been at work throughout his life. Personally, Saroo is much more invested in a belief in chance and luck rather than divine destiny, believing essentially that events in his life are the result of…

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