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Kalki

3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  923 ratings  ·  66 reviews
Once again, Vidal takes on the unmitigated folly born of the unholy partnership of religion, the media, and a public that longs for a savior. The eponymous hero of Kalki, born and bred in America's Midwest, has established himself in Nepal and put out the word that he is the last incarnation of the god Vishnu. An imminent apocalypse -- ignited by Kalki's own actions -- wil...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 1st 1998 by Penguin Classics (first published 1976)
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Dystopics, Utopics, & Apocalyptics
30th out of 172 books — 33 voters
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Lisa Simpson Book Club
47th out of 63 books — 14 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,661)
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MJ Nicholls
I write this review on a cordless laptop at my girlfriend’s cabin the Highlands, the rain lashing against my cheek (I’m half indoors half out), the wind howling against my thigh (my other thigh is howl-proof). I lie. I write this in a cosy bed on a cordless laptop, the only danger being a rampaging bull butting the double-glazed windows with his horns of evil, then gouging my pretty face with said horns. All this is padding. I apologise. Sometimes I have so little so say about all these wonderfu...more
Lammoth
http://lammothsblog.blogspot.com/2013...

Според индуизма, преди много време е имало върховен бог, наречен Праджапати. Той има три страни. Брама - създателят, Вишну - закрилникът и Шива, унищожителят. Когато Вишну е легнал върху водите, от които са дошли всички хора, от пъпа му израснал лотос. От този лотос се родил Брама. А Брама създал света.
До днес Вишну е идвал на земята девет пъти. Осмото превъплъщение или аватар на Вишну е бил Кришна. Последното превъплъщение на върховния бог Вишну е било пр...more
Marley
My early New Year's Resolution is to read all of Gore Vidal's books in 2011. I've started early with Kalki, which I'd put in the minor novels category. Although I thought it was a little weak in places, Vidal is incapable of writing anything bad, I loved it anyway.

Only Gore Vidal can make the end of the world a anticipated event, and with such engaging characters, to boot. Teddy Ottinger is ahead of her time and our time, even if she's a rather idealized version of Vidal, who showed some real c...more
Христо Блажев
"Калки" на Гор Видал рисува апокалиптична религиозна лудост: http://www.knigolandia.info/2009/10/b...

Това е третата книга на Видал, която чета това лято след "Вечна война за вечен мир" и "Вашингтон, окръг Колумбия" и считам, че е най-добрата между споменатите.

Книгата е написана през 1978 г. и описва апокалиптичен сюжет, пред който купищата холивудски суперпродукции бледнеят. Бивш военен от Виетнам се самообявява за Калки - десетото, последно превъплъщение на бог Вишну, дошъл да прогласи края на...more
Ammar Ibnezia
جب انسان مشکلات سے نجات پانے کے تمام حقیقت پسند راستے بندپاتا ہے تو وہ خواب دیکھتا ہے۔ پل بھر میں چمتکار ہونے کے خواب، ہر مشکل اور پریشانی سے نجات پانے کے خواب، اور پھر زندگی کی جھنجھٹ سے آزاد ہونے کے خواب۔
کالکی ہونے کے دعوے دار نے زندگی سے تنگ آئے انسانوں کو یہی خواب دکھایا۔ اس دنیا کے خاتمے کے نتیجے میں ہر اُلجھن سے آزاد ہوکر اگلی دنیا میں بہتر زندگی کا خواب۔ نتیجتاً بے بس انسانوں کی ایک بڑی تعداد اُس کی ہم نوا بن گئی۔ اُس نے دنیا کو بتایا کہ وہی براہما ہے، وہی وشنو ہے اور وہی شیوا ہے۔ وہی پچھ...more
Erik Graff
Aug 09, 2014 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vidal fans
Recommended to Erik by: no one
Shelves: sf
The only reason I can imagine for Vidal receiving a Nebula nomination for this mediocre near-future novel is because of his standing in the literary world.
Raegan Butcher
Quite unlike anything else written by the author. Fans of dystopian fiction should enjoy it. I know I did.
Bob Parsons

GV usually does much better than this. I don't know why I kept on reading it.
Tim
I used to see Gore Vidal occasionally on "Laugh-In," and I knew he was a controversial author and public figure, with what seemed to be anti-feminist views. I have had his novel "Burr" for some time but can't seem to find the d*** thing. Came across "Kalki" at a book sale a couple years ago and thought, well, it IS by Mr. Vidal after all...So OK, this is the essence of quirky, with the "main " character being Kalki, which is an avatar (incarnation) of Vishnu, the Hindu version of God. Well, ther...more
Srivinay Bhaskar Salian
Every book subtly portrays the very nature of the author who has penned it. Gore Vidal does this with each of his work.

Kalki – The Novel is Vidal’s way of sharing his view on topics such as global politics, overpopulation, birth control, and feminism and above all, Hindu Wisdom.

Vidal weaves a story in a very unconventional pattern. His narration is satirical on purpose, to make you feel at ease while you are reading a book that speaks about the Dooms Day.

Vidal has a knack to say everything with...more
Kevin
my first taste of Vidal and it's certainly not what i expected. the wit and sophisticated ideas, i did expect. what came as a surprise was the dark humor and satire- but also the science fiction. yes, science fiction. i said it.

i expected it to be a satirical indictment of cultish religiosity and several other things including heterosexuality, paternalism, the entertainment industry, pop culture, et al. and so it was. but then, like some "magic eye" image or masterful optical illusion, it became...more
Patrick
In bold choice for a main character, given the year of publication. Our narrator is Theodora "Teddy" Ottinger, a female test pilot with a master's degree in engineering from USC. The author goes against convention with many aspects of this character, including paying alimony to her husband when she leaves him and living with her girlfriend after the divorce.

Mr. Vidal does not leave the reader with most sunny view of humanity. Every character is leading a double life and using the people around t...more
Sabrina Edgington
I've always been intrigued by Gore Vidal. He is supposedly a member of the Gore family (as in Al Gore) but is kindof the black sheep. I hear that Al Gore can't stand him. Gore Vidal, being the black sheep, supposedly flipped his name around. I say "supposedly" because I only read this once and haven't done any research. Gore Vidal loves to play with politics and in his books, he usually brings out the side of politicians that pushes people's buttons... for example, in his book, "Lincoln," I beli...more
Graham
Entertaining bit of speculative fiction. Bisexual pilot turned author profiles/abets ex-GI drug-runner who claims to be the incarnation of Kalki (Hindu avatar whose appearance precedes the end of an age - e.g. the apocalypse). Good satirical take on the overlapping between organized religion, organized crime, and government. Lot of interjection of Vidal's own politics, which can be laudable but can also be a little overbearing.

The writing style, in which the protagonist is constantly comparing h...more
Sahil Raina
First, apologies as I have a lot to say about this book.

1) The reader wonders throughout the book whether the Kalki figure (the entity/incarnation of Vishnu supposed to end the world) isn't just a fraud employing a mythical character to make a quick buck. In my mind, this does not get resolved but others have suggested that they disagree (so I am not ruining the book by saying what i just did).

2) I am sort of amused/annoyed by the racial makeup of the core group that shall be saved in the coming...more
Michael Rubin
So, is this science fiction? Science fantasy? Social futurism? Social commentary? It's a bit of all of these together.

It's not the kind of book that jumps to your mind when you think of Gore Vidal, the author. Yet, not only is it fascinating, but it also may change your mind that authors write only in in one genre. Hard to believe that this is the same author who wrote Myra Breckenridge and Lincoln, but Kalki is a great book in its own right.
Unbridled
Somewhat disappointed by the mediocrity of it all. From the start, the narrator, the heroine, an engineer and aviatrix (herself enthralled with Amelia Earhart), sounds like an idealized (feminine) version of Gore himself. The voice, the word choice, the cool, unapologetic disdain for most things not Gore, etc. Which is fine, brilliantly entertaining while I'm reading his memoirs, but not especially effective if I'm to believe in Teddy's 'reality.' Teddy, to be clear, is Theodora Ottinger, the no...more
Ferris
Not just your plain everyday end of the world tale! This novel, written in the 1970s, is more of a sociopolitical statement than a novel. Using the Hindu concepts of Vishnu come again as avatar Kalki, to end the current era of human life on earth, the protagonist manages to manipulate the masses in order to achieve his own ends. Not only does he manipulate the common person on the street, but he is able to successfully manipulate Congress, the Chinese Mafia, and the CIA to his own ends. Charisma...more
Shanie
Gore Vidal's style is clear, interesting, and very readable; it is a fast read; and the plot may have been very ground-breaking for the time that it was written (1970's). However, to me it was just one more sci-fi apocalypse story. The main character, although an atheist and a cynic like me, somehow never fully won me over. The buildup to the main event took most of the book... by the time I was 2/3 through, I was like, "is the world going to end/not end, I don't even care anymore." The last bit...more
Graham
Aug 18, 2010 Graham rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone
Because of this book, I learned that Kalki is an incarnation of Vishnu.

Which led me to discover that Vishnu is part of the Hindu holy trinity.

Brahma - (Creator) - Visnu - (Preserver) - Shiva - (Destroyer)- Vishnu has had 9 incarnations to date, Kalki will be the 10th.

So this one book led me on a journey of self discovery, which I am still travelling along.

If that doesn't happen to you, hard luck, but that doesn't stop this book from being a well crafted and thoroughly entertaining, read.

Origina...more
Leif Barron
May 30, 2008 Leif Barron rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the Universe
I brought "Kalki" along with me to Thailand and Cambodia because it was small and fit into my bag, but I wish I hadn't because once I began reading I wasn't able to put it down until hours later when it was nearly time for the sun to rise.
"Kalki" is yet another foray into South Asian religion for Vidal and again, much like "Creation" (although this book in no way resembles "Creation") he is able to deftly deal with difficult subjects (Vedic apocalyptic writings to be precise) while also raisin...more
Kevin Cole
I hated this book, and forced myself to keep reading because I'm compulsive. Then the last third came along, and my mind was blown.
Petergiaquinta
I started this book early in the '80s and then finished it ten years later after I was back from Nepal and more familiar with Kalki and all...I'm not sure what to make of the novel; it felt at the time as if Vidal were channeling Ludlum or Nelson DeMille and I thought he had better things to do with his time than that. Little has stuck with me over the years beyond how Vidal creates an interesting Hindu premise here, not your typical Book of Revelations end-of-the-world type of doomsday scenario...more
Jeff
This is one of those odd times where I'm not sure whether to give 2 stars or 4. So I'll give 3. I blasted right through, the pace was just right (being on an airplane may have helped, but some books don't grab me even when trapped in the lower stratosphere). I liked the shady nature of many of the characters and the ending, yet somehow I was also left a bit cold at the end.

This book is a pure creature of the 1970s as far as its concerns and worldview.

I may give Vidal another read.
Zhivomira
Отново си избрах "перфектната" книга за морето. 3 звезди, нетипично за Гор Видал амплоа на научнофантастичен писател, но пък типичен главен герой/авторов аватар и ерудирано въведение в древна религия(в случая - индуизъм).
Мисълта ми тече в посока "Народният храм", Джим Джоунс и Куул-Ейд, но засега не съм проверила дали книгата е писана преди или след събитията. Г.В. е бил и журналист, тъй че човек никога не знае.
Jennifer
This was a book club selection. I read the first 100 pages and then skipped to the final 50 pages after Suzanne filled me in on the rest. While the book itself was easy to read, I found myself unable to really relate to the protagonist. The "end of the world" portion of the book was more interesting to me than the lead up part. Maybe because the characters were being described on a more personal level?
Mark
Wise, funny and perceptive as the man himself. Normally I can't stand futuristic fiction if anything can happen nothing matters. I haven't read SF since I was teenager/ crazed student but Gore Vidal could write anything and make it work. Hope he's not too prescient about the premise of this one, religious fanatics end the world as we know it, but it's getting truer every day.
Mel
This story had a lot in common with Atwood's Oryx and Crake, I think. Very concerned with the personality types who favor a scorched earth rather than a perfectible utopian vision. Not that those are the only choices available, but they seem the only choices considered by our characters. Still, quite a good read.
Mike Maxwell
This is the only Gore Vidal novel I have read.

Years ago I read this simply because of the title. I still remember it as the book with the most heartbreaking ending ever, one which I did not expect the writer to have the guts to write. I felt depressed for a week after finishing it. Kudos to you, Mr. Vidal.
Stephen Gallup
I thought this end-of-the-world scenario was pretty scary, because Vidal made it entirely believable. I still remember the disclaimer he added at the end: organisms do exist that are capable of accomplishing was was done in this novel, but in the interest of good citizenship he wasn't identifying them.
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5657
Eugene Luther Gore Vidal was an American writer known for his essays, novels, screenplays, and Broadway plays. He was also known for his patrician manner, Transatlantic accent, and witty aphorisms. Vidal came from a distinguished political lineage; his grandfather was the senator Thomas Gore, and he later became a relation (through marriage) to Jacqueline Kennedy.

Vidal ran for political office twi...more
More about Gore Vidal...
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