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Book Title: Sacred Games: A Novel|
The author of the book: Vikram Chandra
Edition: Blackstone Audiobooks
Date of issue: October 1st 2009
ISBN 13: 9781433249532
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 12.32 MB
City - Country: No data
Loaded: 2139 times
Reader ratings: 5.7
Read full description of the books:
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!
Rating: 3.5* of five
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 fabuolously, 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.
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Read information about the authorVikram 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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