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Sacred Games

Sacred Games

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Vikram Chandra's novel draws the reader deep into the life of Inspector Sartaj Singh—and into the criminal underworld of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India. It is is a story of friendship and betrayal, of terrible violence, of an astonishing modern city and its dark side.

Seven years in the making, Sacred Games is an epic of exceptional richness and power. Vikram Chandra's novel draws the reader deep into the life of Inspector Sartaj Singh—and into the criminal underworld of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India.

Sartaj, one of the very few Sikhs on the Mumbai police force, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But "the silky Sikh" is now past forty, his marriage is over and his career prospects are on the slide. When Sartaj gets an anonymous tip-off as to the secret hide-out of the legendary boss of G-Company, he's determined that he'll be the one to collect the prize.

Vikram Chandra's keenly anticipated new novel is a magnificent story of friendship and betrayal, of terrible violence, of an astonishing modern city and its dark side. Drawing inspiration from the classics of nineteenth-century fiction, mystery novels, Bollywood movies and Chandra's own life and research on the streets of Mumbai, Sacred Games evokes with devastating realism the way we live now but resonates with the intelligence and emotional depth of the best of literature.

916 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2006

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About the author

Vikram Chandra

18 books433 followers
Vikram Chandra was born in New Delhi.

He completed most of his secondary education at Mayo College, a boarding school in Ajmer, Rajasthan. After a short stay at St. Xavier's College in Mumbai, Vikram came to the United States as an undergraduate student.

In 1984, he graduated from Pomona College (in Claremont, near Los Angeles) with a magna cum laude BA in English, with a concentration in creative writing.

He then attended the Film School at Columbia University in New York. In the Columbia library, by chance, he happened upon the autobiography of Colonel James "Sikander" Skinner, a legendary nineteenth century soldier, born of an Indian mother and a British father. This book was to become the inspiration for Vikram's novel, Red Earth and Pouring Rain. He left film school halfway to begin work on the novel.

Red Earth and Pouring Rain was written over several years at the writing programs at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Houston. Vikram worked with John Barth at Johns Hopkins and with Donald Barthelme at the University of Houston; he obtained an MA at Johns Hopkins and an MFA at the University of Houston.

While writing Red Earth and Pouring Rain, Vikram taught literature and writing, and also worked independently as a computer programmer and software and hardware consultant. His clients included oil companies, non-profit organizations, and the Houston Zoo.

Red Earth and Pouring Rain was published in 1995 by Penguin/India in India; by Faber and Faber in the UK; and by Little, Brown in the United States. The book was received with outstanding critical acclaim. It won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book and the David Higham Prize for Fiction.

A collection of short stories, Love and Longing in Bombay, was published in 1997 by Penguin/India in India; by Faber and Faber in the UK; and by Little, Brown in the United States. Love and Longing in Bombay won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book (Eurasia region); was short-listed for the Guardian Fiction Prize; and was included in "Notable Books of 1997" by the New York Times Book Review, in "Best Books of the Year" by the Independent (London), in "Best Books of the Year" by the Guardian (London), and in "The Ten Best Books of 1997" by Outlook magazine (New Delhi). Two of these stories have been formerly published in the Paris Review and The New Yorker. The story "Dharma" was awarded the Discovery Prize by the Paris Review, and was included in Year's Best Fantasy and Horror (St. Martin's Press, 1998).

A novel, Sacred Games, was published in 2006 by Penguin/India in India; and by Faber and Faber in the UK. It will be published in January 2007 in the United States by HarperCollins.

In June 1997, Vikram was featured in the New Yorker photograph of "India's leading novelists." His work has been translated into eleven languages.

He has co-written Mission Kashmir, an Indian feature film starring Sanjay Dutt, Hrithik Roshan, Preity Zinta, and Jackie Shroff, that was released internationally in late October, 2000.

Vikram's mother, Kamna Chandra, is the writer of several Hindi films including Prem Rog and 1942: A Love Story; she has also written plays for All India Radio and Doordarshan. His sister, Tanuja Chandra, is a director and screenwriter, who has directed several films including Sur and Sangharsh. His other sister Anupama Chopra is a film critic and senior correspondent for India Today; she has written Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge, a BFI book about the hugely popular 1995 hit. Her first book, Sholay: The Making of a Classic, won the Swarn Kamal, a national award for the best Indian book on cinema in 1995. Vikram's father, Navin Chandra, is a retired executive.

Vikram Chandra currently divides his time between Mumbai and Berkeley, California, where he teaches creative writing at the University of California. He lives with his wife Melanie Abrams, who is also a novelist.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,057 reviews
Profile Image for Richard Derus.
2,887 reviews1,924 followers
April 17, 2021
2018 UPDATE The first season was excellent, and unlike the usual course of events, there's a second season in the works! The book's 900-plus pages do not need much mining to present viewers with more sudsy crime-ridden goodness.

2017 UPDATE This is Netflix's first Indian series!

Real Rating: 3.5* of five, rounded up because the read is one I can not forget

The Publisher Says: Seven years in the making, Sacred Games is an epic of exceptional richness and power. Vikram Chandra's novel draws the reader deep into the life of Inspector Sartaj Singh--and into the criminal underworld of Ganesh Gaitonde, the most wanted gangster in India.

Sartaj, one of the very few Sikhs on the Mumbai police force, is used to being identified by his turban, beard and the sharp cut of his trousers. But "the silky Sikh" is now past forty, his marriage is over and his career prospects are on the slide. When Sartaj gets an anonymous tip-off as to the secret hide-out of the legendary boss of G-Company, he's determined that he'll be the one to collect the prize.

Vikram Chandra's keenly anticipated new novel is a magnificent story of friendship and betrayal, of terrible violence, of an astonishing modern city and its dark side. Drawing inspiration from the classics of nineteenth-century fiction, mystery novels, Bollywood movies and Chandra's own life and research on the streets of Mumbai, Sacred Games evokes with devastating realism the way we live now but resonates with the intelligence and emotional depth of the best of literature.

My Review: WOW. What a book! It's over 900pp long! It's as overwhelming and complex and befuddling as Bharat itself is, for an uninitiated Murrikin tourist.

It's also fabulously, gorgeously wrought, and very much worthy of being a bestseller. It never will be, for several reasons.

First: It has, and needs, a glossary. Second, it needs but has not an organized-by-relationship Cast of Characters. Third, it's a blinkin' wrist-sprainer of a hardcover and would be fatter than the Bible if it was turned into a mass-market paperback. Fourth, it's just as challengingly fragmented as Ulysses, only more fun to read.

Okay, first comes the glossary. Honestly, I don't know what to tell you about this. I think, based on personal experience, that it's best simply to immerse yourself in the sea of the book, experiencing it the way you would Mumbai if you went there without a tour guide. Just wander along behind Vikram, looking over his shoulder and listening to the people he's talking to; he's the author, after all, and we should trust him to lead us not into the temptation to give up, but deliver us to a satisfying conclusion to the stories he's telling us. He won't disappoint. But if you constantly flip back and forth, back and forth, to the glossary, it'll get wearing and make that giving-up option well-nigh irresistable. Just let the language happen, let yourself see the words without having an instant picture of the concrete reality but rather absorbing the ideas behind them. "Chodo" doesn't need to mean something explicit to you for you to realize that it's being used to describe physical intimacy. You'll get that point PDQ. Let it happen naturally! Try to move past your ingrained logic-and-analysis patterns to experience something afresh.

Second, there are a LOT of people in this tale, and a more complete league table of them would have been helpful where a glossary was not especially so. I think it's useful, in books of more than 20 characters, for publishers to offer us the chance to refresh our memories about who's who and what role and relationship they have in the book. I'd make the publisher do this retroactively but that's not practical...Harper Collins isn't taking orders from me, for some strange reason.

Third, the immensity of the tome! Gadzooks and Godzilla! Had this book sold in the millions, Canada would be devoid of tree-cover. 928pp!! Now, having read the book twice, I can honestly and objectively say that at least 150pp could have come out and left the beauties of the book intact. I think it's a common problem among publishers, though, this inability, or unwillingness, or inexpertise at the art of good editing. I know it's hard. I know because I've done it, and done it very well. But I also know that the end product of a good, collaborative edit is a fabulously improved book.

Fourth, Vikram Chandra's fractured PoV for storytelling. This is the reason an organized Cast of Characters is needed...who's who is provided on p. xi-xii, but it's not complete, and it's not broken into groups by relationship. But the voices are, for third person-limited narrative, beautifully differentiated. The "Inset:" tags are clues to the changes of viewpoint, but we never leave the third person-limited narrative voice; it's challenging to make that not seem flat, like the PoV character suddenly knows things he can't possibly have access to; and for the most part, Vikram Chandra does it well. The last "Inset: Two Deaths, in Cities Far From Home" isn't quite as smooth as others, and in my never-very-humble opinion could be dispensed with whole and entire without damage to the rest of the story.

So why am I so mingy in giving this book a mere 3.5 stars? Because it's too big a commitment to ask a reader to make when it could have been shorter and better told. But folks, India is a huge, huge, huge place that has a lot of English speakers in it. They're going to be producing more and more books in English. I really, strongly advise you to start acclimatizing yourselves to this new reality by picking up works by talented storytellers like Vikram Chandra. Start here, start learning to let Hindi words reveal themselves to you, sink back into the immense, soft seas of India's talented storytellers...unless you want to learn Mandarin, that is.
Profile Image for Maura Finkelstein.
27 reviews36 followers
August 31, 2007
It took me a year to read this book. One year and exactly three days. At nine hundred pages, I spent 12 months considering how to approach the text, how to shrink it and put it in my pocket, my purse, comfortably under my arm. After 12 months I sat down, opened it, and proceeded to consume it in three days.
Sacred Games follows a Bombay police inspector and mafia Don: two men whose stories critically cross but only briefly meet. As the story unfolds, the list of characters grows to extreme proportions. For me, this is what makes the book brilliant. Each character, regardless of space given and story told, is essential and beautifully created. Somehow I found myself caring about each person, regardless of whether I like them, agreed with them, or would want to meet them in a crowded restaurant (to say nothing of a dark alley). And Chandra's prose is gorgeous in the way it drips off the page, saturating the story with details worth swimming through carefully and savoring slowly.
Lastly, as a "place book," "Sacred Games" is also a love story about Bombay. The city tells the story of each character just as they tell stories of the city. This is one of the best novels I've read, in terms of dealing with Bombay social history, geography, and economics.
Profile Image for Shelley Ettinger.
Author 2 books32 followers
February 15, 2008
Well, what a little hypocrite I am ... because politically, this book has so much wrong with it on so many levels. So don't rush out and read it and then denounce me, and you know who I'm talking to. But. Still. What a story. What writing. What a great read. In its scope and thrust and breadth -- it is at once a detective story, a character study or rather series of character studies, a sweeping meditation on the post-colonial history of India and in particular the national question (I found one of the subplots, having to do with the ravages of the Partition, just devastating, it left me weak and weeping), a fascinating portrait of a great city -- this is a masterful novel. Tolstoyan, I'd say (now that I'm such a big Tolstoy expert having finally read War & Peace recently). This was a rare reading experience: a nearly 1,000-page book that I wished would go on and on.
Profile Image for Indrani Sen.
340 reviews57 followers
June 22, 2016
What a book! It took me a while to complete owing to the length. But a solid story with many smaller stories intertwined. The main protagonists Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde are very very well written. Not that well covered but very memorable are the two sisters Jojo and Mary. But the smaller characters (present in abundance) are the true scene-stealers. Aadil who appears at the fag end, Sartaj's co-workers - Kanetkar (and his family), Kamble, Parulkar, Majid Khan; Blackmailed Kamala and her boyfriend, Guruji Shukla, Iffat Biwi - these folks will live with me for a long while. The working of Mumbai police and underworld have been covered really thoroughly. Hats off for this much research.

Highly recommended to my friends looking for an unsual detective story (police procedural) and who wants to read and breath in Mumbai.

PS I hear that this would get adapted in to a TV series by Anurag Kashyap's phantom films. Hope they do a good job. The book is a gold mine.
Profile Image for Vani Kaushal.
Author 3 books254 followers
July 27, 2018

‘Sacred Games’ weaves together the Mumbai underworld, its police and the glitterati, into a colourful mosaic that’s resplendent in multiple themes, voices and characters. At nine hundred pages, this tome of a book does look a bit daunting at first, but promises a lot of action if the reader is patient enough to sit through all of it.
Sartaj Singh is a middle-aged Sikh police inspector in Mumbai, corrupt yet likable, divorced yet not throwing himself in the way of every woman, sycophantic yet keenly protective of his coterie of juniors.
Ganesh Gaitonde is a Hindu don and involved in all sorts of nefarious activities in Mumbai. On the run from Indian intelligence agencies and rival gangs who’re pinning for his blood, Gaitonde operates from his secure hideout in Singapore from aboard a yacht.
The lives of these two cross when one day, Sartaj gets a tip off about the whereabouts of Gaitonde, who at that moment is hiding in a strange metal bunker that he’s created for himself in Mumbai. Keen on taking this national fugitive, Sartaj is quick to reach the destination but before he could have his prize, Gaitonde shoots himself through the head and along with him, his moll, a woman who goes by the name of Jojo Mascarenas. At the time of investigation, Sartaj is approached by Anjali Mathur, an intelligence officer from Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), who tells him that Gaitonde was a threat to national security, that his metal bunker had specifically been constructed to save him from a nuclear threat. Anjali wants Sartaj to covertly investigate about Gaitonde, about what he was doing in Mumbai at the time of his death and to find out details about the girl whose body was found with him. From here on, the novel explores the different worlds of these two men, Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde, and their stories run parallel in this book.
One story leads the reader through the life of Sartaj Singh, the usual humdrum of his policing duties with occasional glimpses into his background and that of his mother, his love life and how he eventually finds the woman of his life in Mary Mascarenas, who’s none other than Jojo’s sister. There are layers within layers and the author presents a good account of the lives of most of the characters that Sartaj comes into contact with on a daily basis. Whether it be Abdil or Reyaz Bhai who came to Mumbai and started his gang of thieves leading his boys into a most hideous murder of one of their own men, the strikingly rich Kamala Pandey whose extra marital affair with a pilot leads her into a most unusual extortion racket, the bar owner, Shambhu and his girls at the Delite Dance Bar, or the lives of his juniors Katekar and Kamble.
The other story that runs parallel to this one is of Ganesh Gaitonde, of his life as a scrawny young boy who came to Mumbai after fleeing his house, of how he started off as an accomplice to a petty criminal, and went on to form his own gang and become one of the most feared criminals in Mumbai. Whether it be his frequent skirmishes with the rival Muslim gang of Suleiman Isa or his spiritual journey that led him in to the net of Guru Shridhar Shukla making him commit one of the biggest crimes of his life, his sexual escapades with young women (Zoya Mirza and her ilk!), to his political ambitions fuelled by his associations with leaders from Hindu political parties, this story promises high action, drama and lots and lots of sex. In that way, the book juxtaposes an officer of the police force against a notorious crime lord thus presenting the eternal struggle of good versus evil as it exists in these modern times.
Chandra’s narrative though mostly action-driven, lacks heavily in certain areas. The book creates an interesting array of characters, but more often than not, these characters do not add much to the narrative and in fact, slow it down. The book could have been way shorter had it not been for those ‘Insets’ in to the life of Sartaj Singh’s mother and how her family migrated from Pakistan, or the useless details about a maid servant in their house who goes by the name of Ram Pari and her struggles after partition of the country or even the details about K.D. Yadav, an old officer of the RAW, tales of his illness and subsequent death. The author veers away from the main plot with gusto, creating stories that have little or no connection to the main plot. The second major flaw is that the whole story somehow, lacks a motive. Gaitonde is dead and for sure, there are questions that must be answered, for instance, the secret of the metal bunker, but the way it’s been handled is way too tardy. There is often more time and effort spent looking for the right lead than exploiting it. Suleiman Isa’s Aunt, Iffat Bibi, comes up as a key character again and again but reveals only little, Parulkar Saab, deputy commissioner of police in Mumbai gives a few of his sources to Sartaj but adds little to the overall story, for that matter, even the character of Zoya Mirza, though glamourises the story, does little to push it forward. The third and the biggest flaw is that even as the author has described every other interaction, encounter, conversation in vivid detail, the last and the most important section, where the nuclear threat to the country is being destroyed has been reported in passive. That one section deserved to be information heavy since the reader spent a good 800 pages to understand it.
Pity, Sartaj Singh slept through most of that action. Its unbelievable and very disappointing. So, what exactly happened to Guruji? Did he die in the end and how? How was the nuclear threat taken care of? The reader would never know.
Profile Image for Trudie.
525 reviews559 followers
May 4, 2020

I don't mind saying this novel took a force of will to get through, a battle of stickability that I was determined to win. Once mentioned in a list of Hanya Yanagihara's 'best books for long flights', Sacred Games had been taking up space on my shelves for several years. I knuckled down to my task during my 5-weeks of lockdown and prepared to be transported to Mumbai's mean streets.

Sacred Games is a quintessential sprawling epic, with hundreds of characters all carefully linked in a fragile web of intrigue. Two narratives spiral around each other, one charts the rise of the gangster Ganesh Gaitonde while the other is the story of policemen Sartaj Singh as he chases down apradhi, sorts out complex blackmail plots and eats a lot of delicious sounding food. Alongside the two main stories, Chandra adds "Insets" essentially tangentially related short stories, that focus on the backstory of a minor character and provide an interesting historical or political dimension. These were often excellent and a nice vacation from Gaitonde and Singh but not all of these insets took us on a journey we needed to go on.

While this is nominally a crime-thriller epic, the resolution to those plot lines became less interesting to me than the atmospheric portrayal of Mumbai as a modern and complex metropolis. The author casts what appears to be a cynical yet loving eye over this city and its inhabitants. On that front it is a real masterpiece. But as time goes on with this novel it is easy to get digression burn-out, at one point I thought maybe I had been introduced to every gangster in Mumbai and knew what they all liked to have for lunch. I have no doubt a better novel could have emerged with some judicious pruning.

Summary A giant unruly Banyan tree of a novel that can be difficult to find your way out of but it is not without charms and I doubt I will read a more insightful novel about India.

Now off to watch the Netflix adaptation ?
12 reviews3 followers
February 26, 2009
Vikram Chandra's "Sacred Games" is the "best" Bombay book, whichever way you look at it. It is set in Bombay and it is about the great metropolis.

Bombay is probably the main character in this "tome" (900 pages and 7 years in the making), which is at first difficult to penetrate, but completely addictive and rewarding once, you go past the 200 page mark.

What makes the book difficult to penetrate is the profusion of characters and the confusing at first-plot structure. (and to readers not from Bombay, the language. Chandra uses bombay street slang (which itself is derived from a multitude of languages and is its own "bambaiya" dialect) without your usual italics or a useful glossary as an annexure.

The book is at core a love song to the Bombay which the author loves, but works on multiple levels. Firstly, it works as a solid piece of Victorian fiction. Not as much a "whodunit", as a “why they did what they did” . Secondly, it is a deep introspection of the changing nature of that wondrous megapolis, which nurtures and nourishes its many economic immigrants. Religion, the Underworld, Weapons of Mass Destruction, Bollywood,the glitterati etc etc, are covered by the broad canvas of this novel which spans from pre independence India to the present day.

Granted, that not all the side stories and minor characters pay off or add to the overall narrative (some of the insets are frankly self-indulgent), but that is but a minor blemish in a book which gives you a character as accomplished and complete as Ganesh Gaitonde.

Ganesh Gaitonde- the "don", the "rags to riches"- it can happen only in bombay phenomenon, the taker of boys, the ravager of women, a connoisseur of Bollywood cinema, the self-learned street fighter, the at once dangerous impulsive, globe trotting, central character. It is apparent that Gaitonde has been invested with the 7 years of research and an infinite supply of humanity. This is a fiction character which will surely stay with you.

In comparison, Sartaj Singh, the 40 year old, divorced cop,pales, but only slightly. Sartaj is the unwitting hero, in this novel, where all the characters are painted "pale grey" at best.

Some of the other characters which Chandra creates, from jojo - the madam, to Katekar, Sartaj's constable are indeed Bombay characters of our times.

Bollywood plays a huge role in this book as well. From the aspiring actress, Zoya Mirza’s rise to Gaitonde’s boys discussing what a Mukesh, Mohammed Rafi and a Kishore Kumar ditty, stands for.

This is indeed a big, clamorous novel, very similar to Bombay where the sound of the crowds, the daily bump and grind, is its own sweet melody.

This is probably the best bombay book ever. Move over Rushdie...

Profile Image for Arun Divakar.
796 reviews380 followers
December 4, 2018
After reading the last chapter of Sacred Games, I went for a walk relatively late in the evening to wrap together my thoughts around this story and also to really declutter my head. For the good part of two months or so now I have been reading this book almost every free minute of the day to the extent that I sometimes lost all comprehension of time and just stared at the screen of my Kindle to understand just how long is this book anyway ? This was not really since I was bored but after a while, the frequent diversions from the main plot kept pulling me in seven different directions with the end nowhere in sight. While I was walking, a sort of pattern started to emerge about the story – the way this book is constructed is very similar to an answer that an unprepared student gave for an examination question.

So the question was thus – describe a cow in ten sentences. A student who had more creative flair than an answer to the question wrote : “The cow is an animal. The cow gives us milk. We usually have cows tethered to coconut trees at my home. A coconut tree gives us coconuts..” and he/she then proceeded to finish the essay with more sentences about the coconut tree than the animal. Exaggerated as this might seem at one glance, this is how this story develops.

The kernel of this tale is about a cynical, world-weary cop named Sartaj Singh and his encounter with an underworld kingpin, Ganesh Gaitonde. Initially the story-line seems pretty simple when one chapter deals with the cop and the next with the criminal but pretty soon Vikram Chandra sheds this template of normalcy and delves deeper into the life of seemingly mundane sub characters. It is in these diversions that he slowly starts building up a portrait of India and later narrows it down to an examination of life in urban Mumbai in the 90’s. The short stories on the other hand are many and they include : a heart wrenching story of a family’s survival in the post-partition riots, the way of life in a military outpost in the far flung north eastern borders of India, what goes on in behind the glitz and glamour of the tinsel town of Bollywood, how the religious riots and the stock market bombings affected Mumbai, the communal undercurrents of the country and very many such interesting vignettes.

The best part is that through a seemingly impossible feat of prestidigitation, the author ties all of these together. It so happens that by the time the Sartaj finishes running the gauntlet that Gaitonde sets out for him, the main narrative of good v/s evil has become pretty irrelevant. Of course we know the good will win but the question the story leaves us with is – at what cost was the victory arrived at ? This to me was the greatest part of the book since Vikram Chandra elevates a mediocre (and much clichéd ) main story into something really interesting by making this a large story made up of much smaller pieces. To be really honest about it, I loved the craft and dexterity that Vikram Chandra displays in the book than the actual story itself.

Recommended and yet patience is something you really need to have an ample store of if you want to see this one through.

P.S : I am told that the series does diverge from the book and it would certainly be interesting to watch now that I am done with the book !
Profile Image for Ashok Rao.
66 reviews34 followers
July 31, 2017
A page turner! I doubt I will ever forget the characters from this novel. Ganesh Gaitonde, Sartaj Singh and Kamble will always remain etched in my memory. I was sad when I finished reading this thriller.
Profile Image for piperitapitta.
950 reviews332 followers
June 28, 2018
Gangs of Mumbai.

E così, sistemando di qua il commento che stava di là, scopro che nel 2018, nuova nuova, è in uscita su Netflix (6 luglio 2018) la serie tv. Wow, corro a informarmi!

Una storia a due facce: quella spietata e feroce di Ganesh Gaitonde, l'inafferrabile aphradi della città, alla quale si contrappone quella stanca e disincantata dell'ispettore di polizia con il turbante Sartaj Singh, un sikh.
L'uno decide di consegnarsi all'altro, ma qualcosa non va come sarebbe dovuta andare.
L'altro cerca di capire cosa sia successo, ma per farlo deve lottare contro la reticenza di molti, contro una città tentacolare, contro un'insoddisfazione personale che ormai muove stancamente la sua vita.
Sartaj deve arrivare a Gaitonde, e l'ha quasi toccato quando Gaitonde inizia a raccontargli, attraverso il citofono del bunker dov'è asserragliato, della sua incredibile ascesa; fino al momento in cui, all'improvviso…

In mezzo, tra Gaitonde e Sartaj, ci sono i vicoli puzzolenti ed i colori sgargianti di una città crocevia di tutti gli umani vizi e debolezze, antiche usanze e riti di cui si perde l'origine avvinghiati e infettati a tecnologia e modernità, la lingua indiana condita da parole inglese indi e marathi, musulmani che fronteggiano cristiani, pakistani e indiani che si studiano dalle montagne lungo un confine apparentemente deserto, servizi segreti guidati da una donna di poche parole, giovani vergini che ruotano misteriosamente intorno a Jojo, una bellissima donna dalla pelle ambrata e determinata come una pantera pronta a balzare sulla preda, un guru inafferrabile e infido che sembra essere il manovratore di tutto e di tutti, ashram in cui tutto sembra immobile, un'altra giovane donna, sorella della prima, che sembra ormai non chiedere più niente alla vita.
Ed infine c'è lei, Bollywood, un miraggio abbagliante dentro al quale si muove un mondo finto e patinato, le cui luci fanno sembrare naturale anche quello che c'è di più falso, fino a far sì che tutto possa essere possibile.

Tutto questo in una incredibile confusione e armonia di miseria e ricchezza, miasmi e aromi, ascetismo e lussuria.
Sembra il caos, invece è Mumbai.

«Ma è un gioco, amico mio» rispose Gaitonde. «Non è altro che che un gioco, è lila»*.

[una piccola nota polemica]
Mi chiedo: ha un senso infarcire la traduzione di centinaia di termini Indi e Marathi che costringono il lettore a zompettare ad ogni riga da quanto sta leggendo all'Appendice? Non erano meglio delle note a piè di pagina, visto che sono centinaia?
E soprattutto, ha un senso decidere, del tutto arbitrariamente, che alcune di queste parole sia giusto tradurle e altre no?
Capisco che l'autore avrà scritto in un inglese infarcito di questi termini, ma questa è una consuetudine indiana, non italiana, e questa scelta ha reso frammentaria la lettura di un romanzo che al contrario è avvincente e molto più dinamico di quanto non risulti grazie a questa lettura ad ostacoli.
Paradossalmente è andata meglio quando sono passata all'ebook e ho deciso di infischiarmene della traduzione, anche perché (e qui apro una sotto nota, da seguace quale sono di DFW :-)):
ha senso mantenere termini come anda, angadia, belan, parishad, purusha, ranci, tanki, etc. etc. etc.(**)

(*) Lila, il gioco del Signore, uno dei modi indù di intendere il mondo e la creazione come giocattoli del dio Vishnu.Certo certo, vuol dire: delinquente, criminale.
(**) uovo, corriere, matterello, consiglio, uomo, prostituta, cisterna, etc. etc. etc.

Ah sì, certo: aphradi vuol dire delinquente, criminale :-)
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 6 books1,761 followers
August 20, 2008
This utterly rocked. It's epic crime fiction story set in the epic city of Bombay, weaving in the Indian mafia, Bollywood, Eastern philosophy, the class of ancient India and a thoroughly modern society, love, lust, loss. Yet its protagonist and reluctant hero, Sikh policeman Sartaj Singh is down-to-earth, an ambivalent but ultimately honest cop swimming against the flood of corruption and temptation in a city he loves. This is a 900 page undertaking but it moves with a terrific storyline and fast-paced action.
180 reviews1 follower
September 5, 2007
So close . . . I almost loved this book, but somehow the whole was less than the sum of the (ample) parts. In the end, as much as I enjoyed each of the narratives, I didn't think that Chandra had the chops to integrate them, which is unfortunate since that seemed to be the whole point of the thing. Chandra gets massive points for ambition, but comes up short in the execution. The biggest problem is Chandra's inability (or, more charitably, disinclination) to vary his narrative voice despite his use of multiple narrator perspectives; this results in strangely flat inner lives for characters who appear quite vibrant on the surface. Still, if you have time, and if you're interested in India (and especially Mumbai) and/or detective stories or tales of international intrigue, you could do a lot worse.
Profile Image for S.Ach.
502 reviews163 followers
January 15, 2015
At exactly 101th page, a thought passed through my mind - "What could be alternative uses of this book?"

First, it can really pass off as a nice and "hard" pillow, when you need one and not a real one handy.

Second, you can hurl it at someone, a vermin perhaps, if you want to really "hurt" that someone. (yes, I am talking about the hardcover edition, which I possess).

Third, if your arms don't reach to the top shelf, you can use it as a small stool, that can give you the required "elevation".

But, if you go for its intended use and read it instead, chances are that you could find a brilliant nail-biting, heart-pounding, edge-of-the-seat, bollywood blockbuster.

I couldn't.
The fault is in me.

Good Luck.
Profile Image for T. Scott.
23 reviews
September 14, 2007
This is, as many have no doubt noted, a long book. I read at night before I go to bed, so this was a long read for me, but I looked forward to being pulled into it each night. I won't describe the plot because you can find it elsewhere, except to say that its setting is Bombay (Mumbai) and that it's a book of dual identities -- cop and mobster -- and depicts each with varying degrees of sympathy, empathy and sadness. I felt both were at the core melancholy figures looking for something. One thinks he won't find it and one thinks he has but really hasn't. I should also mention that the author has chosen to fill almost every other sentence with Indian street slang, profanity, and other phrases. The language is a s colorful (i.e. filthy) as a Scorsese movie, even in various Indian languages, for which there is a useful partial lexicon in the back. I don't know if cussing in Hindi will ever be useful, but I feel like I could toss around a few good ones.

I think the author defined and expanded a little more fully on the mobster character and I found the scene at his death (revealed in part at the very beginning) a heart-breaking in what it revealed about the fragility and ease of self-delusion. There is a nuance in the way that the characters are written that gives (some if not most of) them a real grounding in reality.

The book is, at times, beautifully written, but maybe a tad over-populated. It reminds me in it's scope of Johnathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, in that the author here fully creates an expansive and detailed world where for his characters to move around in and includes several levels of back-story for many characters and even some secondary ones. Some of this takes the story off-track, but whether that's good or bad depends on if you're reading the book just to finish it or to enjoy the world he's created.

I must say that it stayed with me for a few days after I finished it, which I always take as a good sign.
Profile Image for Mandar.
9 reviews
August 19, 2012
So this was a thrilling page-turner. With lots of Indian gaalis thrown in. And of course, tons and tons of violence. And two amazing characters - Sartaj and Gaitonde. The tone of the book, the dialogues were right on the money, really authentic and all that. I really liked his language. But "literary masterpiece" - I think not.

Also, it was too bloody long. I like to relish a good book, admire a nice turn of phrase - and this book was full of those - but there were parts where I was just skimming. There were a few side stories that were totally unnecessary, I thought: the whole bit about Sartaj's mom's family etc. Also, what was with the Reyaz Bhai thing at the end?

There were a few points when I thought the plot was struggling to move forward. I think there were at least a half-dozen times when Anjali Thakur keeps telling Sartaj, "It is a matter of national security. I can't tell you more at this time." And then, when things just cannot move forward without some new information, she gives him a little more to go on.

The whole Ganesh Gaitonde voice-over thing seemed like a rather weak literary device. But most importantly, I didn't think it all came together too well in the end - there seemed to be this unsaid promise of a grand unifying conclusion in the read. It did come together, but it lacked the punch that was needed at the end of a thousand pages.

Over all, it was a good book. It kept me interested (more so than the only other 1,000 page book that I've read: Suitable Boy). But I didn't get blown away by this book, like I did with Maximum City. It was also not as good as Chandra's "Red Earth and Pouring Rain". I think most of all, I was disappointed that this book didn't live up to the critics' "literary masterpiece" call, that screamed out from its cover. I hate to admit it, but this was mostly pop-trash - no? Was this any better than Da Vinci Code? Seriously. Just because it's "sprawling" and "Dickensian" and has a glossary that's several pages long, doesn't mean it's very literary or all that. (Or does it? :)
Profile Image for Allison.
27 reviews5 followers
March 28, 2007
This is a sprawling novel about gangsters and cops in Mumbai, India. The author includes a Hindi glossary to assist with the Hindi words sprinkled liberally throughout the text. At first I was frustrated because I wanted to look all of them up, and this book is big (900 pages) and heavy, which made it very cumbersome. But as I went along, I recognized many of the words (especially the bad ones!), so I didn't have to refer to the glossary as often. The main characters are Sartaj Singh, a policeman following in the footsteps of his humble father, and Ganesh Gaitonde, one of two major Mumbai dons. The chapters alternate between these two speakers, and it is interesting to see the ways their lives intersect. There are a plethora of other interesting characters as well. The "Ganesh chapters" tell the story of Gaintonde's rise as a top-gangster, while the "Sartaj chapters" focus on several simultaneous cases he is working on. This book made me want to learn more about India's geography and history, especially about Indian Muslims and Hindus and how these groups have interacted in the past. I really got lost in this book, and I felt sad when it was over. Ganesh and Sartaj are really great characters, and I ended up rooting for both of them. This book is a surprisingly quick read considering how long it is.
Profile Image for সালমান হক.
Author 46 books1,293 followers
September 22, 2018
বইটা এত বড় যে বেশ কয়েকবার অ্যাটেমপ্ট নিয়েও শেষ করতে পারলাম না। ইদানিং ই-বুক পড়তে গেলে মাথা ঝিমঝিম করে। খুবই খারাপ লক্ষণ। যেটুকু পড়��ছি, বেশ আগ্রোহদ্দীপক। ডিটেইলিঙ দারুণ। সুদূর কিংবা অদূর ভবিষ্যতে শেষ করতেও পারি। আপাতত তোলা থাক।
Profile Image for Neha.
280 reviews182 followers
October 28, 2014
Sacred Games.. the book should ideally be named as '6 Degrees of separation' or 'Chaos theory' or 'Butterfly effect' .. etc because everyone & every situation & every thing is related to each other.. starting a chain of events, growing bigger & bigger till the end.. when we realise that this ripple which was bound to lead to a tsunami actually led to a bubble..

well its an interesting read.. with many plots.. the religious animosity, gang war of mumbai dons, underbelly of mumbai slum life and underworld.. neuclear threats, india pakistan clash... etc etc.. mixed with snippets of bollywood, partition, intelligence bureau activities & plots, men sleeping with every other women, bar girls, blackmailing & extra marital affairs, informers, etc etc..

its like any typical bollywood movie only that the protagonist is a middle aged mature sikh policeman.. or was it the deadly dangerous, cunning but gullible hindu gangster.. who ever the hero.. it has a lady love, bunch of villains, friend of the heroes, a family, a threat looming large and saviour of the day our simple sardar ji... no heroic stuff just normal jugadoo types..

the most peculiar thing is that the author could manage to write in and attach each significant event in the Indian history since independence into the books and its characters.. like partition exodus, NEFA, maoists of west bengal, Nehru & his visions, 1993 bombay bomb blasts, sikh urgency of 80s in punjab, babri masjid. Most of the characters are also real life inspired like Daowood, chota rajan, Ms India wannabe actresses, maharashtra's legislative politicians.. so well repeated & re-repeated in every bollywood movie.. I read it like i would go for a movie.. but 900 pages of it and the same stuff... there was too much content put into 900.. author could have very well written 2000 pages with the same content but mercifully it was limited & concise.. so at a time when the book could hav been a predictable, drag read it still maganged to be racy & something or the other happening kept me hooked.

So i would advise you to read it for the ample content & series of events like an Irving wallace or thriller novel minus any heroes but don't expect a book that would leave you asking for more. Its over and over for good. Its just a read..
Profile Image for K.J. Charles.
Author 58 books8,101 followers
August 28, 2018
That was a hell of a ride. A gigantic epic sweep over India since Partition as told through a Hindu gangster, Ganesh Gaitonde, and a Sikh policeman present at his suicide, Sartaj Singh, plus side stories of a huge cast of minor characters. It's brutal, tender, funny, hopeful, despairing, filthy, religious, political, violent, divided, diverse and pretty much everything else you can get into 800 pages. Which is a lot. I am glad I read it on holiday so was able to glom it over three days, as the stories interweave over a very long stretch and it would be easy to get lost.

This review feels far too short for a huge book but it's this or a five-page essay, basically. Suffice to say: utterly absorbing, terrifically human for good and ill, vivid, sometimes regrettably so, and compelling.
Profile Image for Sagar.
43 reviews33 followers
July 20, 2018
Sacred Games could have been brief, maybe that's why they made it into a Netflix series. It was a long story with powerful characters.

I loved the approach with alternate chapters but they were inconsistent except for the last chapters. There were also casual and parallel plots which made me feel tiresome and call it a day.
Profile Image for Христо Блажев.
2,206 reviews1,419 followers
September 11, 2016
Свещени игри в тъмната страна на Индия: http://knigolandia.info/book-review/s...

Още в началото ще кажа, че не е редно да се дирят сравнения с “Шантарам” на Грегъри Дейвид Робъртс, тя е излязла преди тази на Чандра, но последната разказва “отвътре”, както трябва да бъде разказвана Индия. Детайлите, безбройните детайли, които изпълват тия страници, са разли��ата – тук е сбран един непонятен за европееца субконтинент, но към който можем да надзъртаме чрез книги като тази. И ако двамата главни герои са привидно антагонисти – полицай и главатар на криминална групировка – то преживелиците им се допълват по изумителен начин. Това е територия, в която никой не е напълно честен, морален и некорумпиран. Тук абсолютните понятия за добро и зло не съществуват, има само относителни стойности, които от различни гледни точки се променят. Жегата е вездесъща, социалното напрежение – постоянно, а историята прави завой след ��а��ой, при всеки от които се проливат реки от кръв. И няма надежда това да се промени. XX век е векът на хекатомбите.

Издателска къща БАРД
Profile Image for em.
166 reviews53 followers
January 9, 2022
How do you rate an exceptional and long book that spans dozens of stories of different people connected by the most unlikeliest thing?

Though if I do have to, Sacred Games was definitely an amazing read except for the slow pacing in between and the Hinglish this was written in.

Profile Image for Rohit Sharma.
203 reviews40 followers
November 14, 2018
I had no idea of this book's existence till the city was decorated with huge hoardings of Netflix Original TV Series "Sacred Games". With half of it showing Saif Ali Khan as Sartaj Singh the good Cop and remaining half of it showing Nawazuddin Siddiqui as the Hindu Don Ganesh Gaitonde :). The day it came out, I saw a copy of the book at the nearest Crosswords and realized that there was no way I could have finished the book before going ahead with the TV series. And on top of that, the TV series was an overnight success as predicted for its makers that they announced the Season 2 immediately. Before even I could get the book, I gave in to the urge of downloading the series and saw it twice back to back, imagine it was that fantastic. But the best part was that the TV series indeed left its viewers at the tenterhooks of what is going to happen next? And that made me pick up the book as the second season I believe is still some months away if not more. Just to give you a hint that how amazing the book is, I will only say that Vikram Chandra must be a huge Quentin Tarantino fan and he wrote it exactly how QT must have written it, if only he was born in India :). The choicest of Indian cuss words in their authentic pronunciations and multiple uses per page was the cherry on top. It turns out beautifully well when on one side its a frustrated Cop cursing the gangster and on the other side it's the Don who is cursing the world he rules with them. Bravo!! I haven't read a more beautiful, thrilling and chilling story from our part of the world. It isn't for the weak heart for sure but let me tell you, it is indeed much much better than the TV series for sure. Isn't that the case is with all the adaptations, even Anurag Kashyap, my all time favorite Indian Director with his partner Vikramaditya Motwane (another terrific maker) couldn't do justice to the book. And let me not even start talking about the diversion from the book, I can only imagine how and what they will come out with in the second season :).

Like I said above that Vikram Chandra has mightily impressed me with this book big time and he will now show up in my list of contemporary Indian writers who have superb stories to tell. Totally loved the way he carved out the character of his Hindu Don Ganesh Gaitonde and his journey from Mumbai slums to the man with superb powers to shake the world. And an equally brilliant character of Sartaj Singh, the cop with a mission, hand in glove with RAW agents and his own team to uncover the Don's plans. The way both the tracks grow in parallel was totally mind-blowing, even when at the very start you know (almost) how the things are going to end. The way story starts, goes in flashbacks and connection of Sartaj Singh and Ganesh Gaitonde is disclosed, it was totally unbelievable. Unfortunately I had no expectations in terms of the timeline of the story but the way Vikram narrated it, right from the partition of India to the current time, it just keeps getting better by the chapters it opens and yet keeps everything covered till the very end. It is indeed amazing to read how Ganesh Gaitonde rules and his mysterious mentor plans to end the world in one kool sweep with Sartaj Singh chasing them to uncover the whole plan with the help of RAW agents and his own mentor Parulkar, the Police Chief. I love the way Hindu Muslim animosity and the friendship too is shown in the book. The way Gaitonde keeps Muslims as his right hand men and the way Sartaj's friend, another cop, a devout Muslim keeps a bottle of whiskey at his place only for him was simply heart-touching. A perfect cat and mouse chase game but the only regret that I have is that, I couldn't give much time to the book with my busy schedule and it took me close to 20 days to finish this gem.

Sacred Games, which I believe is very aptly titled as the story it covers can very well qualify as a Historical Non-Fiction from our part of the world as it at least tells the last four decades of India's history in almost 100% authentic way. I am glad we have no censor in literature or this book would have never seen the light of the day. The book has everything and in right quantities, perfect story(s), believable true to life characters, amazing love stories, amazing political commentary, corrupt system, not so great lime-light life and a lot more. Hats off to the Author for covering so much in such an amazing way that the reader actually roots not only for the good guys but for the bad too at times when they are not so bad. I was surprised by the way I myself was in love with Ganesh Gaitonde and the way he handles his friend (a female), keeps up with her for decades and almost never comes face to face with her but I expected a heart-break in the end and you really need to read the book to know how it all ends.

The book is full of shocks especially in killing department, blood, sex and gory details, unfortunately I just wrapped up the amazing series "A Song of Ice and Fire" by George RR Martin so it wasn't that bad but no doubt, the book made me go numb multiple times with its ruthlessness in handling so many of the amazing characters. My heart cried out for them, if only a reader had any control on the characters he was reading about.

Have you read Sacred Games? Do let me know how you like it if you have. But if you haven't, trust me, you need to read it before the Season 2 of the TV Series comes out. As I guarantee you that they are going to goof it up big time and for sure Season 2 will be a disaster in comparison to the first one which was totally engrossing.

PS: If you plan to read the book, do not miss the Glossary at the end. The way Author explains the 100's of the Hindi words he has used in the entire story is super hilarious, especially the curse words, loved that too :).
Profile Image for Lena.
Author 1 book339 followers
July 26, 2007
As someone with a 300-page attention span, I wasn't sure I'd finish Vikram's 900-page magnum opus. But the story is so engrossing I could hardly put the book down, and I'm not someone who generally reads crime thrillers. The language is stunning, the characters are rich and deep, and book gives Westerners like me a view into Indian life that we would never be likely to see otherwise. I found myself lingering over the images and ideas in this book long after the 900th page.
Profile Image for Chloe.
349 reviews539 followers
January 24, 2008
I am a sucker for fiction set in or around Mumbai, so picking this up was a no-brainer. Chandra's first book, Red Earth & Falling Rain, was only so-so but this new book has managed to grip me within the first 50 pages. I'll let you know how I'm feeling after I get to Page 900 or so...

900 pages later, I am of the opinion that Vikram Chandra is in dire need of a skilled editor. This could have been whittled down about 500 pages and moved a lot more smoothly, yet the characters are still interesting in their own flawed and miserable ways. It was worth the reading, but I was ready for it to be over about 2 weeks ago.
Profile Image for Selva.
333 reviews56 followers
August 19, 2018
A brilliant novel. It would belong to the genre of a Literary thriller if there was one such. It, for the most part, follows the life of a gangster and that of a cop in parallel and how the lives of the two of them become interlinked. It is also what people call a Bombay novel in the sense it captures the seamier side of Mumbai in all its detail. It was like reading a work of fiction that was based on 'Maximum city: Mumbai lost and found' by Suketu Mehta. At 950 pages, it is the 2nd biggest novel that I have read; but, for the most part, it was totally engrossing and gripping. I wouldn't say I glided through it in 2-3 days but it is gripping enough to finish in that time if you are that kind of an attentive reader. Its main strength is its interesting details but the minus, I thought, was the final reveal about the disaster awaiting Mumbai comes to Sartraj Singh, the cop, a little too easily. And the last 100 pages could simply be lopped off from the book and it would make no difference. Some novels have a 10 pages epilogue but Vikram Chandra has written a mini-novella in place of an epilogue. If you have seen Sacred Games, the Netflix series, then it is all the more interesting because you have a mental image for each character. Take my word, it really helps and it doesn't spoil the fun as there is a lot more in the novel than what is shown in the series. Totally recommend it to everybody.

Actual rating: 4.5 stars
Profile Image for Aubrey.
1,305 reviews750 followers
January 24, 2018
My own life had taught me what was real, and I knew that what men can imagine, they can make real. And so I was terrified.
Out of all the books I've gone through in the last few years since I committed to having at least one 700+ page behemoth on my docket, this is likely the most casual. It was no trouble at all to crack it open at eleven at night after a full day of work and already completed reading load, not to mention my motivation for reading this when I did was the upcoming Netflix series. Then again, I first came across Chandra in my postcolonial short story class, and the vaunted name drops of Barth, Barthelme, and UC Berkley in the author's bio show that, while the theme may be crime and punishment, the narrative doesn't stint itself in accordance to genre conventions. A previous owner of my copy left a nasty note that basically called the book a ripped off mix between 'Go Set a Watchmen' and 'The Godfather', but that's white people for you. One would think that the adulation and 'Ulysses' and co. amongst a certain generation would have cultivate a sense for context to make up for the terms that aren't covered by the Hindi/Punjabi/etc glossary in the back, but that's the problem with certain members of the international audience. Even with English as the majority lingo, some expect to be spoon fed.
A reputation for ruthlessness can do wonders for peace.
Chandra's the rare author who respects characters whom are usually valued only for their narrative use, not for any intrinsic humanity on their own part. This contributes to the novel's length, especially during the last few humanizing passages regarding characters which the reader is typically trained to pass over and forget for the sake of narratological efficiency. This also accounts for my determination that the afterword's incorporated article's use of the word "Dicksensian" is rather slipshod, as while delving into the underworld may have been characteristic of that flat character flatulence, the treatment of each individual is all Mary Ann Evans. Every time I expected a lack of interiority, every time I assumed a facet of the story would be passed over in glancing due to gender or class or religion, Chandra would give at least five to fifteen pages in the so termed "Insets" that I came to look forward to the most as oceans between the two main characters, the Sikh policeman and the Hindu crime lord. That compassion that translates directly to to effort spent on a credible character, thus giving respect to the humans it is based on, is what I seek in any story, and coupled with a landscape I've never been to but hope to visit someday, this work was a pleasurable learning experience as well as an entertaining ride. The .1 of a star off comes from my lackluster reception of the solution to the second to most penultimate mystery, as misogyny is only as realistic as we enable it. For 900+ pages, though, two or three slip ups wasn't half bad.
There is a certain pleasure we take in thinking about how bad it gets, Sartaj thought, and then in imagining how it will inevitably get worse. And still we survive, the city stumbles on. Maybe one day it'll all just fall apart, and there was a certain gratification in that thought too. Let the maderchod blow.
I'm likely going to purchase any Chandra that I haven't read that comes across my path. The transition from short story to 900+ page multifaceted yet enjoyably readable epic is no small feat, and seeing how rarely my revisits of past successes follow through, I'm eager to amass works under a familiar name while my liking lasts. I admit to shamefacedly chortling along with one of the afterword's article's mention of the mainstream Anglo academic elite's valuing of India's international literary diaspora over the people who choose (or can afford) to stay, as I am much more familiar with the mentioned Lahiri and Desai than, say, Hyder, or even Tagore. Roy's an exception, but she also writes in English, so while I can claim a non Anglo (in the Anglo Saxon sense) viewpoint, the fact that the other three books on my docket are in translation shows it's not lack of opportunity limiting my experience with translations from Hindi or Punjabi or the multitude of other languages commonly referred to as Indian. I'm not knocking Chandra for writing this work the way he did, but now that I've had my fun, it's time to get back to work.
I have worked with politicians, and gangsters, and holy men, and let me tell you, none of these can compete with a writer for mountainous inflations of ego and mouse-like insecurities of soul.
P.S. All you Netflix subscribers over there, keep an eye out for this adaptation, pretty please. It needs all the love it can get.
Profile Image for Vikas.
Author 3 books145 followers
October 17, 2021
Wow this was surely a BIG book at exactly 900 pages it was a big book and it took me a long time to finish with all my job and everything and while I finished this book I also finished few books alongside it. Now famously Vikram Chandra took 7 years to write this book and funnily enough it took me almost 7 years to read it after buying it. I bought it in Dec-2006 and started reading this year. Now onto the book well this is a vast book, with two main story-lines and then different story-lines throughout the story lines. This book tells us the story of one Sartaj Singh a Police Inspector and One Ganesh Gaitonde a Gangster. The Story goes like Sartaj looks into the life of Ganesh the Gangster and the Gangster tells his own story. The story moves from current time i.e. 2006 to all the way back to the time before Indian independence and then spy agencies in India and Pakistan. Yes it did take me a long time to finish this book and sometimes I left the book alone for a long period of time but it is true that its a 5 star book meticulously researched and written and beware it is full of Hindi Expletives, after all that's the way our Police and Gangsters talk :). I would suggest this book to everyone who would like to read a crime saga set in and around Mumbai and a truly big Indian Novel. This one is a winner and now I am sad that I waited for so long to start reading this book.

People who don't read generally ask me my reasons for reading. Simply put I just love reading and so to that end I have made it my motto to just Keep on Reading. I love to read everything except for Self Help books but even those once in a while. I read almost all the genre but YA, Fantasy, Biographies are the most. My favorite series is, of course, Harry Potter but then there are many more books that I just adore. I have bookcases filled with books which are waiting to be read so can't stay and spend more time in this review, so remember I loved reading this and love reading more, you should also read what you love and then just Keep on Reading.
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