Age of Vice by Deepti Kapoor
January 3, 2023
Review by Jen
Most books that are made into films aren’t as good as the book. There are some exceptions, but the majority just don’t live up to the book. The Age of Vice would make a GREAT film. A better film than it was a book.
The story is set in India. It has all the makings of a huge epic movie. Family drama, corruption, sex, violence, enormous wealth and profound poverty. It follows several characters who circle each other and are from different families and stations in life. We have the rich Sunny from the Wadia crime family. He’s a playboy with big dreams and a desire to earn his crooked father’s respect and love. Neda is a reporter with intellectual parents, caught between doing what’s right and being intrigued and drawn to Sunny.
Then there’s Ajay. He grew up in a poor family. His mother sold him when was very young. He’s treated well (enough) by his new family, working in their home and believes that his mother gets regular payments in exchange for his work. Eventually he leaves and finds another job, where he meets Sunny. Ajay knows how to be discreet, polite and get Sunny any drugs or alcohol he might want. Sunny slips him his card and tells him he has a job with him, if he wants it.
Ajay falls on hard times and shows up at Sunny’s home looking for work. And so they become a team. Ajay is his helper, assistant, gofer, bodyguard, whatever Sunny wants, Ajay gets. He’s loyal. He trusts Sunny and protects Neda. He’d do anything for Sunny.
The book opens on fatal car crash. Ajay is in the driver’s seat. Several people have died. And from there, the book looks back at all of the events that led to that tragedy. Not all is how it seems with the crash.
There are other characters who pop in, from a former Israeli operative to Sunny’s cruel uncle. Then there’s the slimy hitman who ambushes Sunny and the sad homecoming with Ajay’s mother.
I enjoyed the story. I found the tension, the push and pull of a modern India against an engrained hierarchical society to be fascinating and frustrating. I was rooting for Ajay. I was even rooting for Sunny to rise above his family. I wanted Neda and Sunny to work out- against the odds, for them to be good people together.
This was a very long book. Long and complex. I listened to it, and the voice actor was excellent. There was enough action and drama to keep me interested. It inspired me to learn more about India; what was true, what was fiction, are these struggles real? But, I didn’t love the book. It was tough to follow and absorb all of the details. That could be because I was listening to it and couldn’t go back to reread sections. I’m not sure? I feel like I should’ve loved it. I can absolutely see it being optioned for a movie, a modern day Godfather trilogy set in India. That would be amazing!
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