“Gods with Blue Skin” by S.J. Sindu (Soho Press)
Kalki Sami has blue skin. He is the incarnation of Vishnu and an exact copy of Rama. He has the power to heal. But when his cousin Lakshman begins to doubt Kalki’s piety, Kalki also begins to doubt his powers. As the world of Kalki expands beyond the ashram and India, the immaculately structured future before it begins to crumble.
“Blue-Skinned Gods” SJ Sindu follows Kalki through childhood and up to his 20s. Told in the first person, the story is interspersed with deviations from his imaginary present as a full-fledged adult, with the benefit of hindsight. The result is a child who thinks of himself as a god, an adult who knows best, and the reader has room to sympathize with both. Sindu leaves Kalki’s ultimate blame for his father’s religious exploitation to the discretion of interpretation.
Gods with Blue Skin is divided into four books. Each book is named after a person that Kalki will somehow lose by the end. This pattern manifests itself quickly, expanding just enough to heighten tension and drama without giving away too much of the plot.
The twists and turns of the novel become more frequent with each book, right down to the last page and final twist. Sindu’s applied cultural knowledge and careful character construction make each surprise believable, but not predictable. There is an explanation for every oddity, and social problems that were not solved in childhood return to the thoughts of the older and wiser Kalki.
On a linear timeline, Gods with Blue Skin does not end at the end; the end is tucked in somewhere near the beginning. Conflicts abound in the novel, but Shindu reveals which one had the most weight in the last sentence. While the ending is punchy and harsh, it delivers determination and clarity.