Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Peacock Throne” as Want to Read:
The Peacock Throne
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Peacock Throne

3.47  ·  Rating details ·  167 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
October 31, 1984 begins like any other day for Gopal Pandey as he sets up his tea stall in a lane off Chandni Chowk -- the most magnificent and crowded street in all Delhi. At its head lies Red Fort, once the home of the gem-encrusted Peacock Throne, symbol of the Mughal Empire's dazzling might, and of its downfall. By the end of the day, Indira Gandhi has been assassinate ...more
Paperback, 768 pages
Published February 8th 2007 by Om Books (first published January 2007)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Peacock Throne, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Peacock Throne

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Don MacAlpine
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: march-1m-2016
This book was a gift, given a couple of years back. India has always intrigued me so I finally cracked it open, choosing it over too many other gifted books I have also not yet read. Whenever I was forced to take a break from the break this book was intended to give me, I felt disrupted. Oh, the book has too many Indian references that would best be explained by footnotes instead of being sent to a glossary that is still devoid of many of the unfamiliar words encountered. And, like other 'edited ...more
Anuradha Goyal
Dec 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Lovely depiction of the world around Chandni Chowk:
Kubra Mubashshir
Jun 20, 2017 rated it liked it
I loved the first half of the book. I loved the way it started off from after the Operation Bluestar , through the mandal commision & ayodhya demolition right till 1998

I loved exploring the kochas of old delhi & getting a fresh perspective on the politics

however at 700+ pages it was quite a taxing read.
Amrit Chaitanya
May 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended for anyone who grew up in Delhi the late 1980's and early 90's...
Shane Lusher
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book has been characterized as the Indian War and Peace, and while it isn't that - for one thing, there is no Tolstoyesque historiography - it certainly approaches it in scope.

The raw power of the novel comes from its matter-of-fact portrayal of New Delhi between the years 1984 and 1998. Any commentary on the part of the author would have removed that power (and certainly been out of place in the 21st century; Tolstoy was able to get away with it, to a certain extent, because that's what hi
Nous sommes en 1984, à Delhi. Le matin se lève sur le bazar joyeux et bigarré du plus grand marché de la ville, Chandni Chowk, gigantesque complexe de petites boutiques où il se vend de tout. Gopal Pandey, marchand de thé chai, s’éveille en sursaut et s’apprête à ouvrir son échoppe quand il se rend compte que la foule du marché est en émoi. Bientôt la rumeur lui parvient : le Premier ministre, Indira Gandhi, vient d’être assassinée. C’est très vite la confusion. Les esprits s’enflamment, les com ...more
Mar 31, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A novel that takes place in the very heart of India: the legendary, sinister, despised and cherished neighborhood of Chandni Chowk, Delhi - Old Delhi - the crossroads of the brutal reality that is India.
I know this neighborhood better than most outsiders, because I have lived there. Therefore, this novel perked my own specific interest and gave me the patience to read this very big tome of often choppy prose and at times disjointed weave of plot lines. I think the author bit off more than he co
Vikash (
My rating is actually 3.5.
Firstly, it was a good read, a piquant tale.
I was giving it a 3 but then the characters came to my mind especially sohan lal and gopal 'das' pandey and I could not help but add a further 0.5. It is nodoubt a magisterial work where the story covers 14 yrs is details. Sujit is a painter and you can actually see the gradual changes and incidents in chandni chowk, where the
whole story travels. It is rich in humour, satire, anger and celebration and greed, not only of the s
Sep 23, 2009 rated it liked it
It is a quintessential Chandni Chowk novel. Life of rich baniyas with protruding bellies, Bangladesi immigrant kids who live by wit, of social climbers, Muslims that patronize Jama Masjid and poor from all classes.

I have so far just read two parts of the book, in which I have come across about 20 characters already. It is engrossing and interesting to read about their intersecting lives.

Books covers the political climate around a decade. For that, it relies heavily on national events like 1984 m
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it
I just came back from a combination business, writing-research trip to India and Dubai. This is a phenomenal book: one can learn far more from fiction than from a travel guide: I toured the Chandni Chowk and Red Fort area based upon reading this book......!

3 Apr 08 this is a slow read for me.....currently at page 500 but still enjoying it.

I finished it....I enjoyed it.....but it did 'fall down' towards the end. I find, more frequently than I'd like, that some books with really great starts have
A very intriguing book & hard to put it down once started. Sujit Saraf has beautifully portrayed how low people stoop for money and power. The story opens with the day Indira Gandhi assassinated by her sikh bodyguards & the riot which started against the Sikh community. How it affected the lives of those in Chadni Chowk, Old Dehli makes the core of the story against the political background of India. This is one of the books which I was drawn to instantly when I set my eyes on it, and ne ...more
Mar 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could have been two books ! " The PM is a lion... surrounded by tigers who are his ministers... You will be a wolf, an MP ... MLAS , A FOX, A JACKAL AND A HYENA- agressive but cowardly... COUNCILLORS ARE MONKEYS They swing from branches and chatter thru the night. The jungle is rich in animals- mayors, state ministers....You do not need to learn about all of them . Just remember to cower before the lion, and the tiger. Glare at the jackals,hyenas and foxes. Eat the snake and scorpions (shopkeepe ...more
Dan Scott
Sep 21, 2007 rated it liked it
Sprawling novel covering several characters based in and around a Delhi neighbourhood between 1984-1998. The glossary comes in very handy, as do a couple of Indian workmates, but over the course of 600+ pages, one can fully immerse oneselves in the intersecting lives, events and politics of what is almost a desi version of "Mr Smith goes to Washington".
Feb 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I have just read this book for the second time and loved it. It is a rich tapestry of Indian political and everyday life between 1984 and 1998 as seen through the eyes of a group of people working and living around the Delhi market of Chadni Chowk. The storyline, the characters and the style are all perfectly executed and one can smell and feel India with all its spices and shit.
Jul 26, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I put this down a while ago and not sure I can bring myself to go back to it. 80 pages or so in, and I've met more characters than I can even begin to remember, and we're still only a few hours into the same day. Sadly, just too dense for me at this point in time...
Nov 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
loved this book...could smell and feel india through the pages....a real turner...and brings all the characters to life and they are all so realistic...loved it so much:)
Nov 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This gargantuan novel was written by a NASA scientist. It has drawn very many threads of my year in India together.
The Peacock Throne by Sujit Saraf (2007)
Helen Lombard
... What is another word for "please, never again, I hated every minute of this"?
Got, painfully, to page 91, every page was boring beyong words.
Kathleen McRae
interesting story a slog at times as it was very wordy
Catherine Cleeve
Feb 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I loved this - couldn't put it down. It really brought Delhi and the political scene from an ordinary man's point of view to life.
Nausheen Pashazaidi
Dec 20, 2008 rated it really liked it
Loved it!
Feb 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-good-read
A long book with some great characters that possibly needs reading more than once to take it all in. Lots of interesting stuff about India which is always a good thing.
rated it it was ok
Sep 26, 2010
rated it liked it
Jul 23, 2013
rated it really liked it
Mar 12, 2011
rated it really liked it
Jun 12, 2011
Majeed Raman
rated it it was amazing
Apr 27, 2009
rated it it was ok
Jul 03, 2013
rated it did not like it
Oct 31, 2011
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Valley of Masks
  • The House of Blue Mangoes
  • Leela's Book
  • The Immortals
  • Raj
  • A Married Woman
  • Ce que je sais de Vera Candida
  • The Red Carpet: Bangalore Stories
  • The Lost Story
  • Una historia de amor como otra cualquiera
  • Unladylike: A Memoir
  • Nazaqat
  • No Onions Nor Garlic
  • The Indian Clerk
  • The Waterfront Journals
  • Love Marriage
  • When a Tree Shook Delhi: The 1984 Carnage and its Aftermath
  • Racists
Sujit Saraf received an engineering degree from IIT Delhi and a Ph.D. from Berkeley. He has conducted research for NASA, taught at IIT and worked as a space scientist in California. When not at his desk, he runs Naatak, an Indian theatre company in America for which he writes and directs plays and films.