In these five haunting stories Vikram Chandra paints a remarkable picture of Bombay—its ghosts, its passions, its feuds, its mysteries—while exploring timeless questions of the human spirit. The stories are linked by a single narrator, an elusive civil servant, who, on each of five evenings, recounts an extraordinary tale to those seated around him in a smoky Bombay bar. In ‘Shakti’, two feuding business families are united by a forbidden passion; in ‘Dharma’, a soldier forced to save his life through a terrible act of self-mutilation returns to his home in Bombay to find it haunted by the spirit of a small boy; in ‘Karma’, a police inspector takes on a murder case and finds himself drawn further into spiralling layers of corruption and deceit. Tightly controlled and luminously written, this outstanding collection confirms Vikram Chandra as one of today’s most exciting writers.
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