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The Peacock Throne by Sujit Saraf
The Peacock Throne begins with the assassination of Indira Ghandi in 1984 and is set in Chandni Chowk, the famous market in the center of Old Delhi, India. Gopal Pandey is a chaivala, a tea vendor, and he's a common man without ambition. Over the course of the next fourteen years, he finds a large sum of money which launches him into the complex world of modern Indian life and politics. In the process, he encounters many people reflecting the depth of India's past and its thrust into the modern world. He encounters orphans, prostitutes, thieves, politicians, gangsters, businessmen, journalists, and feminists, and his intersection with their lives eventually results in the manipulation of his life and political fortunes. Sujit Saraf's novel has received mostly positive reviews with the New Statesman saying, "it is one of the best novels I have read this year."