Vikram Chandras fat novel Sacred Games is an excellent counterpoint to the seemingly never-ending Godfather trilogy broadcasts on deep cable. The book is a huge, sweeping portrait of a Bombay mob boss and the seasoned cop on his tail. A potboiler that transcends the genre, it offers a stunning, sometimes hilarious look at life in Bombay, and the writing is a wonder, chugging along for more than 900 pages. Sacred Games landed on countless best-of lists, and now its the book to beat for the fiction prize at the Northern California Book Awards (the New Delhi-born Chandra now lives and teaches in Berkeley). Other noteworthy nominees include Thomas McNamees Alice Waters and Chez Panisse (nonfiction), William T. Vollmanns Poor People (creative nonfiction), Alice Walkers Why War Is Never a Good Idea (childrens literature), and Dean Youngs Embryoyo (poetry), put out by Believer Books. The winners will be announced today, and a book signing and reception with the authors follows the ceremony.
Sun., April 13, 1 p.m., 2008