Novel of the year

Sacred Games, by Vikram Chandra.

I am fairly confident in that pronouncement, even though a) it is only January 11, and b) I have read only the first hundred pages.

Here is a New York Times story, here is a New York Times review.  It helps to have visited Bombay.


Typo - it's 'Sacred Games' not 'Secret Games'. But your links are all correct, so it doesn't matter. I don't know if you've read 'Maximum City' by Suketu Mehta. Both Suketu Mehta (New York-based) and Vikram Chandra (Berkeley-based) were in Bombay at around the same time, writing their respective books. Maximum City kicks ass too, but is non-fiction.

There are some interesting sub-plots too. Vikram Chandra's brother-in-law, the movie director Vidhu Vinod Chopra, plays a big role in Maximum City. Both Chandra and Suketu Mehta worked on a Bollywood movie script for Vidhu Vinod Chopra. The movie was called 'Mission Kashmir'. Chopra was offended by some things that Suketu Mehta wrote about him in Maximum City. So Vikram Chandra apparently does not like Suketu Mehta now.

yes, yes, yes! I was so looking forward to this book I got it off best novel I read last year.

If you like "Sacred Games" then you might want to try "Love and Longing in Bombay" which is a prequel to this story.

What on earth is Amazon doing, running that WaPo review on the book's page?

Though the novel does have its moments and a couple of intermittently interesting central characters, mainly it just wanders aimlessly along, written in a droning monotone and peppered with Indian colloquialisms that are sure to put off all but the best-informed American readers. * * * It may sound exciting and engaging, but it isn't, and when the novel's climax finally occurs, it's the most anticlimactic climax I can recall. But it is, perhaps, a fitting climax to a book that, for all its ambition and intelligence, ends up going nowhere at all.

Of course I trust TC's judgment, but I have no clue why Amazon is doing that.

There's yet ANOTHER great book about Bombay called "Shantaram" by Gregory David Roberts, based on the true story of the author, who escaped from prison in Australia and settled in Bombay as both a doctor and a worker for organized crime. There are plans to make a movie on it starring Johnny Depp.

For those who don't know why the fuss about Bombay...first off understand that isn't heaven, it isn't the greatest place in the world for everyone there, because there are so many people in abject poverty there. However, Bombay IS the most exciting city in the world, because it is literally heaven and hell superimposed on each other at the same place. Bombay (Mumbai now!) has some of the most expensive real estate in the world, yet also some of the world's largest slums.

I've just finished reading "Red Earth and Pouring Rain", which I greatly enjoyed. How does the new novel compare to this earlier one?

As someone noted above, the Washington Post's Jonathan Yardley didn't like this book at all. I very much want it to be terrific, so I would be most interested in a response to Yardley's piece by Prof. Cowen or another fan of the book.

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