Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

A quick mention of a novel I’ve finally finished. I say ‘finally’ for a few reasons. I first heard of this years ago when I heard a review of it on the radio in the UK; it took me a few years to buy it. I then started it once, and gave up 150 pages into the 900. I then got it again on my kindle a while back (e-books are certainly easier to carry around than dead tree formats). It still took me a couple of months to finish. I’ve read longer books quicker than that – but not because Sacred Games is dull. Far from it. It just requires attention and deserves lingering over. An Indian set thriller about gangs and police corruption and nuclear plots it may be, but it’s also a character piece and an attempt to capture on the page the teeming, seething variety of Indian society. It switches back and forth in time, focus switching from one main character to another – chiefly a gang leader and policeman, as well as several side characters who slip briefly into focus and back out again.

The plot compels, but really we’re learning about people, here – motivations, why people get corrupt in positions of responsibility and what it means to lead or follow. You need time and commitment for a book like this; it’s also graphic at times – there are sections, sometimes quite out of the blue that aren’t for the faint of heart or prone to blush. You could, though, do a lot worse if you want a big fat thriller which to ask you stop and think  a while between page turns.

I rated this book 4/5 on goodreads.com

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