Reading guide for Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra

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Sacred Games

A Novel

by Vikram Chandra

Sacred Games
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  • First Published:
    Jan 2007, 928 pages
    Jan 2008, 928 pages

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Reading Guide Questions Print Excerpt

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!

  1. Manu Tewari, the screenwriter, tells Gaitonde that "a thriller has to start with the danger, tell the audience what they’re supposed to be scared of, what is at stake, and then it should race to the finish." Does Sacred Games obey these essential rules of the thriller? If it’s not a thriller, what is it?

  2. The French translator for Sacred Games, Johan-Frédérik Hel Geudj, noted that doublings and mirroring proliferate in the book – there is the pairing of the Sartag and Gaitonde (connected, of course, through the sisters Mary and Jojo), but then they each have two father-figures, and they each betray one of these father figures. What other doubles can you find in the book?

  3. Based upon the above question, symmetry seems to be a theme in the book. Why are these symmetries in the book? Is there a pattern? Does the pattern mean anything? Is the book finally symmetrical?

  4. What effect do the "Insets" have on the reader?

  5. The traditional form of the griller or the detective story sets up a closed narrative world in which there is a comprehensible solution to every mystery. By the end of this kind of story, the detective knows everything that can be known, and the chain of causality which leads to the crime (or the bomb) has been completely determined and fixed. What are the chains of causality in Sacred Games? Do the characters know and understand anything, even at the end?

  6. "Bollywood" is a term informally applied to a genre of film that are colorful, melodramatic, and contain elements including star-crossed lovers, family ties, sacrifice, corrupt politicians, and conniving villains. Though Sacred Games is not a novelistic approach to Bollywood – it incorporates many of those elements. Which "Bollywood" elements does Sacred Games incorporate? To what effect?

  7. Sacred Games is daunting in size and scope. Do you feel that the novel is too large for all of the characters, story-lines, and themes? Perhaps it is not large enough? How did the size of the novel and large cast of characters affect your reading experience?

Unless otherwise stated, this discussion guide is reprinted with the permission of Harper Perennial. Any page references refer to a USA edition of the book, usually the trade paperback version, and may vary in other editions.

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