I was a little skeptical about Vikram Chandra's Sacred Games (HarperCollins, Jan.) because of all the advance hype. But it far surpassed my expectations. The moment I cracked open this 900-page novel, I was transported to Mumbai. Chandra has captured that gritty, sickeningly sweet, perspiration-soaked, electrifying, addictive quality of India. Most people fall into two categories when visiting India: they either instantly love it or they hate all the dirt, crime and poverty, the disparity in wealth and standard of living between classes, and how utterly foreign the culture is to non-Indians. Chandra has managed to weave the best and worst parts of Mumbai into an utterly spellbinding novel. Though the mafia angle always sells well, it's more than just "The Godfather in India"—Chandra's prose elevates it to a literary masterpiece. If this book doesn't skyrocket to the top of every bestseller list, I need to find a new line of work because that will prove I know nothing about books.
Volume 253 Issue 41 10/16/2006