Books by Vikram Chandra

Vikram 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.

GEEK SUBLIME by Vikram Chandra
Released: Sept. 2, 2014

"An engaging exercise in interdisciplinary thought, both elegant and eloquent. Besides, who can resist a text that works karma, Marcel Duchamp and iterative programming into a single thought?"
A fruitful exploration of computer-age aesthetics, when artists are making use of programming even as programmers consider themselves artists. Read full book review >
SACRED GAMES by Vikram Chandra
Released: Jan. 1, 2007

"As for Sartaj, Chandra believes he's finished with him. 'I'm hoping we've respectfully said goodbye to each other at the end of Sacred Games,' says Chandra. 'I think I've been writing about him for about ten years now, and that's a lot of time.'"
In Vikram Chandra's stunning new novel, a character from his earlier work of short stories, Love and Longing in Bombay - which Kirkus called a "brilliant work, equally effective in its radiant separate parts and as a pleasingly complex and highly original construction" - makes a star turn: Sartaj Singh, a world-weary policeman stuck wading through the political swamp of the police force. Read full book review >
Released: March 5, 1997

Five ingeniously linked long stories by the young Indian-born author whose impressive fictional debut was the magical-realist Red Earth and Pouring Rain (1995). These stories, which are uniformly full-bodied and richly detailed, are told by a convivial yet enigmatic civil servant, Subramaniam, to his attentive cronies in a bar called the Fisherman's Rest. Each recounts a quest of some kind, and all are distinguished by unusually detailed and persuasive characterizations. ``Dharma'' tells of a stoical combat veteran who experiences ``phantom pain'' in his amputated leg and consequently a ghostly visitation that brings equally painful memories of his childhood. ``Shakti'' is an amusing tale of rivalry between two socially ambitious women that is resolved by an unexpected alliance. In ``Kama,'' the investigation of an apparently open-and- shut robbery and murder uncovers a morass of sexual and political misdoing and the complicated personal life of Sartaj, the police detective who learns as much about himself as about the killer he pursues. ``Artha'' and ``Shanti,'' respectively, describe a gay computer programmer's dangerous search for information about his disappeared lover, and a twin bereft of his brother and in love with a beautiful married woman who travels ceaselessly looking for the truth about her long-lost husband, a soldier reported missing in action. ``Love and longing'' indeed are thus, in various ways, the motive forces behind these pieces—and in the last, the tale- teller Subramaniam is himself an important presence, and we realize how the preceding stories have also expressed aspects of his own loves and longings. A brilliant work, equally effective in its radiant separate parts and as a pleasingly complex and highly original construction. Read full book review >
Released: Aug. 16, 1995

Everyone has a story to tell in this impressive debut from Bombay-bred, Houston-based Chandra: a wide-ranging, often riveting patchwork of India's past and present and the clash of cultures in colonial and post-colonial times. Abhay returns to India after graduating from Pomona College, restless and unhappy; as a way of relieving tension he shoots an old monkey that's been stealing from his family for years. The monkey, on death's door, remembers its former life as an 18th- century poet, and in an agreement with the Lord of Death is allowed to live to tell its story (by means of typewriter!) to those interested. Abhay, his family, and an ever-increasing crowd gather to hear the tale of Sikander and Sanjay, the warrior and the poet, Anglo-Indian brothers who know the curse of being neither fish nor fowl in the early days of the British Raj. In their serpentine sagafrom miraculous birth and family tragedy to hard lessons of colonialismboth come to prominence only to turn on each other when Sanjay makes a pact with Death, bartering away his mortality in order to fight the English forever, at home and abroad, while Sikander in his old age dies protecting them. Meanwhile, Abhay, asked to fill in whenever the monkey tires, relates his own story of ennui and displacement in America, a tale in which he and two friends drop their studies and hit the road looking for heaven, which for him amounts to a moment of glory in defeating his girlfriend's father, a racist Texas judge, on the cricket pitch. In the end, he finds his storytelling is just beginning, and for him, too, it becomes a matter of life and death. The magical realities of India and Americathe heat of armor in battle, for instance, vs. the heat of a windshield on the freewayare disparate enough to jar sometimes as the two stories meet. Still: a richly textured and engrossing debut. (Author tour) Read full book review >