... an immersive and satisfying coming of age novel with an extraordinary central character ... Sindu’s language is simple and clear, her skills as a storyteller so subtle that only halfway through the novel did I notice her differing ways with emotional effect, the nostalgic depictions of Kalki’s memories of early boyhood contrasting with his empty, hustling life in New York. The author cleverly reveals the toxic sham of Kalki’s boyhood, yet without tainting the genuine romance, richness and simplicity of his daily life ... a rich, beautifully told and moving examination of the allure of superstition and legend, the pains of growing up and the pitfalls of lying to others and lying to yourself.
... a thought-provoking book about faith and belief, the lengths that we go to, and the reasons we use to justify our actions that control someone who does not know any better. This was a hard read for me at times and I encourage you to check the content notes before reading the book. If you have travelled to or lived in India or any place where Hinduism is practiced, like Sri Lanka, your prior knowledge will come in very handy ... Blue-Skinned Gods does an amazing job at depicting the tension between belief and truth ... I also enjoyed the modern touch that the book has when Kalki travels to North America; it gives a good contrast to his rural upbringing in India. This will likely make the book more accessible to Western audiences ... I enjoyed the twists and origin story of the young boy. It made me face my own presumptions and marvel at how reading about a culture moulds the people I imagine in my head ... a beautifully written book that made me ponder the world I live in. It is rich in Hindu culture, exposing not just its positive sides, but also its negative. I really liked the balance of information and how the main character, Kalki, questioned things as he grew older.
... fascinating ... The novel really takes off when the adult Kalki finds the courage to leave his father and to pursue his own dreams. In the brilliant final third of the novel, Kalki finds himself in New York City, where he has a full-blown identity crisis. Here Sindu is at her inventive best, with wild juxtapositions of people and situations, from a post-punk band that takes in Kalki, to hipsters of various gender identities who try to seduce him, to new-age worshipers who refuse to believe he is not a healer, to gangsters who want to bring him back to the ashram. These witty episodes allow Kalki to try to define himself as well as to understand the world around him.
... an origin tale that is so fantastical and yet so plausible that it deserves a moment of appreciation. As Kalki is forced to reckon with the lies that form the foundation of his life, SJ Sindu's second novel, Blue-Skinned Gods, pursues questions of sexuality, social hierarchy, family secrets, toxic masculinity and religious abuse. Sindu doesn't quite nail the emotional payoff at the novel's close, but she still delivers an exciting journey that lovingly explores the nature of chosen families.
Blue-Skinned Gods is split into four books. Each book is named after a person who will be lost to Kalki in some way by the end of it. This pattern emerges quickly, revealing just enough to heighten the tension and drama without giving away too much of the story ... The novel’s abrupt turns gain frequency with each book, down to the last page and the final twist. Sindu’s applied cultural knowledge and careful character-building makes each surprise believable without being predictable ... Although the ending is climactic and jarring, it provides both resolve and clarity.
As if channeling the prevarications dominating her debut novel, Marriage of a Thousand Lies (2017), Sindu’s sophomore title (despite a slow first half) proves to be an explosive, provoking examination of what we are forced to or choose to believe to be true.
Throughout the book, Sindu’s prose has a textured intricacy that never becomes florid. Occasionally, though, she does slip into a slightly didactic tone when explaining Hindu practices; her assumption seems to be that her audience is entirely Western. These contextualizing passages, though not entirely necessary, don’t significantly flaw the book. A larger flaw emerges, however, when Kalki, now 22, arrives in New York. For someone who has never left his ashram—never mind his country—Kalki seems remarkably unfazed ... his reactions to the wider world never feel quite believable. Still, these are minor quibbles for a novel that so admirably skates between insight and pathos, acuity, and poignancy. Remarkably moving in its explorations of faith, doubt, and what it might mean to be a charlatan.