Marc's Reviews > Sacred Games

Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra
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Jul 31, 2007

liked it
Recommended for: Dawood Ibrahim

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.
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Amber (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:20PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Amber Now I feel a little bad for recommending you and Sarah tackle this beast of a book! I really liked it when I read it in manuscript. I agree with you that the separate threads don't come together as well as they could (hence my 4-star rating instead of 5), but I didn't find the characters flat, and I was swept along enough by the intrigue and the atmosphere that I didn't mind so much that he wasn't perfect in execution. I also learned a lot about India that I didn't know before. Anyway, I'm glad you enjoyed parts of it.


message 2: by Marc (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:20PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Marc You've got nothing to feel bad about--I enjoyed the book and am glad that I read it. I was just frustrated because I felt like it came very close to being great, but it clearly fell short.

Also, I should add that I think that Sartaj Singh, the Sikh policeman, is a beautifully realized character, but I believe that he's always described from the omniscient narrator's perspective. The real disappointment, to me, was that Ganesh Gaitonde--nominally the narrator of probably 40% of the book--sounds exactly like Chandra the novelist. Which means that he writes very well, but very conventionally, and that doesn't seem true to the character.

Anyway, in my book, 3 stars is a good rating.


Edward Schreibman This review perfectly sums up my feelings for the book.


message 4: by Kit (new) - rated it 4 stars

Kit I really loved this book and found it compelling reading, but I would agree that I was irked at times by the same narrative voice throughout, no matter who was telling the tale. I'm not sure I agree about all the threads. I didn't think this represented lack of skill but more the nature of the world described, stories spinning out of other stories. Perhaps I wasn't reading critically enough.


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