Photo of Mumbai by willem velthoven used under a Creative Commons license.
Vikram Chandra, Sacred Games (Viking, 2007).
An massive, sprawling novel set in Bombay. The narrative alternates between the competing perspectives and intertwined stories of a gangster kingpin, Ganesh Gaitonde, and a police detective, Sartaj Singh. Like the city, the book bursts at the seams with food, crime, smells, buildings, traffic, show business, cramped circumstances, grand designs. I have read that Chandra does not consider this a Bombay novel, but I certainly would read it before visiting the city.
Here is the book’s site. Garth Risk Hallberg reviews Sacred Games at The Millions. Adams Mars-Jones reviews it for the Guardian (UK). Jonathan Yardley didn’t care for it. Ahmad Saidullah reviews it in The Quarterly Conversation. Edward Nawotka interviews Chandra, as does Tony Dushane, and Sonia Faleiro, and some sort of UC Berkeley PR program. Patricia Leigh Brown profiles him for the New York Times. Listen to NPR’s piece here. Or if you have an hour, you can watch Chandra on Story Hour at UC Berkeley with Chandra.