If there's one book whose price should be listed in pounds, it's Vikram Chandra's new tome, Sacred Games. Whenever a new Indian novel comes out--especially one that receives heavy praise--I grumble and vacillate over whether to read it. Is it really good? Wouldn't I rather be reading something else? Won't I confront the same old storylines and oft repeated formulas (filtered through Bollywood)? As the list of questions suggests, I usually let discretion be the better part of valor, save my money and (very often) the two or three trees used to print a book that no editor felt inclined to prune, however rambling, repetitive or baggy it became. Fortunately, Jonathan Yardley has saved me the trouble and the inevitable backache of reading Sacred Games.
One sentence did it for me: "The enthusiasm with which the venerable firm of HarperCollins is promoting this massive deadweight of a novel, and the money that it's putting where its mouth is, leaves one to ponder once again the eternally mysterious ways of the book-publishing industry."
Negative reviews are so rare that when comes along, one does well to pay heed. No pondering needed for me. Not now.