Now available for pre-order!
Release date: November 2, 2021
"The richness of this story will take hold of you and never let go.” - Roxane Gay
"The slow-burn narrative by the end becomes incandescent. Sindu’s stunning effort more than delivers on her initial promise." - Publisher's Weekly, Starred Review
Traveling from the ashrams of India to the underground rock scene of New York City, Blue-Skinned Gods explores ethnic, gender, and sexual identities, and examines the need for belief in a fractured world.
In Tamil Nadu, India, a boy is born with blue skin. His father sets up an ashram, and the family makes a living off of the pilgrims who seek the child's blessings and miracles, believing young Kalki to be the tenth human incarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.
Kalki is confronted with three trials in his tenth year—tests of his power that will prove his divine status and, his father tells him, spread his fame worldwide. Over the next decade, as the story of his family unravels, his relationship to everyone—his dominating father, his beloved cousin, his cancer-stricken aunt, and the young woman he imagines he will marry—threatens to fall apart. At once a personal tale of youthful searching, and a magisterial, continent spanning tour-de-force, Blue-Skinned Gods is unwaveringly honest and heartbreaking, a powerful novel told through the eyes of a wonderfully winning and idiosyncratic protagonist.
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Praise for Blue-Skinned Gods
“SJ Sindu has written another brilliant novel in Blue-Skinned Gods. This time, she tells the story of a boy with blue skin who is trying to be the god everyone tells him he is . . . Here is a novel about the bonds between brothers, a deceptive tyrant and son, a mother who doesn’t know how to save herself or her child, a boy and how he yearns for his young loves, and so much more. The richness of this story will take hold of you and never let go.”
“Sj Sindu has given us a true gift in Kalki Sami and his journey. A coming-of-age story wielding philosophical, historical, and emotional moments full of passion, vividly described, Blue-Skinned Gods is one of the most original and beautiful novels I’ve read in a long time.”
—Brandon Hobson, author of Where the Dead Sit Talking and The Removed
“Blue-Skinned Gods is a marvel of a novel. S.J. Sindu has created a cast of characters so compelling it was difficult to set the book down. I was enraptured by the careful twining of these lives: a manipulative father, a mother who loves her son to the point of agony, the joy and despair of tender first love, the pressure of knowing your destiny and the devastation of losing everything at once. It is a true joy to encounter a book so beautifully written. The prose is lush and stunning, the narrative wildly gripping. Sindu is a phenomenal writer and Blue-Skinned Gods is a treasure.”
—Kristen Arnett, New York Times bestselling author of Mostly Dead Things
“This marvelous novel offers up the most extraordinary circumstance in which to live a life. It delivers everything I didn’t know I desperately wanted: snake bites, ink baths, god-energy, gurus, post-punk music, viral videos, redemption, and an unforgettable character asking all the big questions. What am I and what am I capable of? In the asking comes revelations on the nature of love, power in friendship, weight of dogma, and the visceral seeping together of diverse cultures. These pages left me with the best case of culture shock, and in awe over Sindu’s storytelling talent.”
—Devin Murphy, national bestselling author of The Boat Runner and Tiny Americans
“Blue-Skinned Gods is a memorable and vivid coming-of-age story that feels timely in its pursuit of exploring the meaning of truth and how we know what to believe about ourselves and others. Kalki’s journey from an isolated ashram in India to the kaleidoscope of New York City's clubs and streets is captivating. This is a wonderful book about family, friendship, and miracles.”
—Elise Hooper, author of Fast Girls, Learning to See, and The Other Alcott
“With Blue-Skinned Gods, SJ Sindu has written an epic in every sense of the word: the amazing life and times of Kalki Sami, the boy born with blue skin and the power to heal, reads like an instant classic. Sindu has proven herself, yet again, to be a master storyteller—Blue-Skinned Gods is thrilling, remarkable, and totally irresistible. You won’t be able to put it down.”
—Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer and Sweet & Low
“Blue-Skinned Gods is a gorgeously atmospheric journey of faith and doubt—and ultimately, of finding one's sense of self after a lifetime of performing for others. With exquisite prose, SJ Sindu, one of our finest storytellers, explores the entanglements of Eastern spirituality and globalism, family and trauma, gender and sexuality, in a compulsively readable and emotionally charged tale.”
—Patrick Cottrell, Whiting Award winner and author of Sorry to Disrupt the Peace
“Blue-Skinned Gods is beautifully rendered, a profound story about faith - in others, and in oneself - and manipulation. Here, a boy may or may not be the reincarnation of a God, and his quest to understand himself, and his responsibility to those around him, is utterly compelling. It is a story about miracles, both of the world we inhabit and the ordinary, flawed, spectacular people we inhabit it with, as we find that the greatest miracles might come from the friendships that help us become who we really are.”
—Tessa Fontaine, author of The Electric Woman