Deepti Kapoor: “If you want the reader to be interested in something, tell him a thriller”

Deepti Kapoor: “If you want the reader to be interested in something, tell him a thriller”

Family sagas and black novels have long teeth. They do not release the prey. In them there is always a victim and a culprit. That is why the Indian writer Deepti Kapoor has chosen the combination of crime and punishment, perversion and kinship to build the mosaic of an India about to explode. In ‘The Age of Vice’ (Alfaguara), the first novel in a trilogy dedicated to the recent history of her country, Kapoor proposes a historical, political and social mosaic of a society built on profound inequalities. The author uses crime and family ties to x-ray a society in the throes of growth or explosion. “I spent many years of my youth in New Delhi, working as a journalist. I moved in a city where money rolled, among people with power. It was an elite that produced, but also squandered it in perpetual partying and entertainment. I ended up witnessing and documenting all of that.” Kapoor’s 2014 debut novel ‘A bad character’ explores the recklessness and excess of India’s young and rich, including the nightlife of Delhi. «I realized that a single voice was not enough for me, it had to be the great choir that showed a social transformation. And what better way to do it than with a thriller? If you want the reader to be interested in something, tell him a thriller. The genesis of ‘The Age of Vice’ takes place between Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, during the 1990s and 2000s, the time in which different clans and mafias emerged that Kapoor uses to portray a failed society. It all starts with an accident. A car for five people in one of the streets of New Delhi. The driver doesn’t know how he got there. He is just a servant, the servant of an heir whose ambition knows no limits and whose power extends through the deepest veins of the city: consumption, desire, drugs, waste, hedonism, prostitution, extortion… This is not Bollywood. Everything happens in a territory dominated by the Wadia and the Singh, clans that get rich speculating on the land of people with fewer resources. Neda, a journalist who acts as a witness and part, as Kapoor herself was at the time of her, is the third leg of this story told with jumps in time and with an ambitious choral structure. «Money created a middle class and consolidated a well-being that was built on tremendous inequalities. That’s why I don’t think of this as a novel, not even as a personal episode. I wanted to propose a story of India, of these characters trapped in circumstances that they do not control in a society of extremes. To be pariah, to be a woman, to be nobody. This trilogy of misfortune is very clear in the main characters of this story: Sunny, her lover, the journalist Neda, and her servant, Ajay. It is a direct story, told without fuss, by a 40-year-old woman who experienced everything in the first person when she was barely 20. «This idea that women cannot write about violence is absolutely absurd, there is much more to it than domestic dramas or intimate».


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