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The Crack Magazine

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Book of the Month: Blue Skinned Gods by SJ Sindu

“Most of the world believes, and has always believed, in some sort of divine being or beings, whether that’s a single, omniscient God, or many gods in complicated pantheons, or localized nature deities. But the number of people who had grown up believing they were divine beings themselves was very few. Later in life, when I told people about my upbringing, they often wondered what it does to a person to believe themselves a god.” That’s Kalki, the narrator of this tale. Born with blue skin in Tamil Nadu, India, he believes himself to be the next reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu. At heart this is a coming of age tale, but there can’t have been too many novels in which the protagonist must negotiate the pitfalls of puberty while also believing they are capable of performing miracles. The narrative begins around the late 1970s/early 1980s, in the aforementioned Indian village. People come from miles around to see Kalki, believing that he can cure their ailments. Kalki’s parents meanwhile, do nothing to discourage these beliefs. Indeed, Kalki’s domineering father is quick to exploit such devotion, asking for payment from each visitor. Over time, Kalki’s legend spreads – and his father is able to expand their homestead into something of a hippy retreat – but all is not as it seems. SJ Sindu has fashioned a rich and moving story – beautifully told – and she manages to wrap things up with a startling finale that is as unexpected as it is satisfying. RM

Legend Press