Age of Vice - Deepti Kapoor’s Turbulent Saga

"When I started to write Age of Vice... I certainly didn't think I would be sitting in this beautiful hall in Valladolid in 2023... it's very surreal!" said Deepti Kapoor during her session at the first edition of JLF Valladolid, which was held at one of the many majestic festival venues, the Circulo de Recreo.

During her twenties, while working as a journalist in a rapidly-changing Delhi, Kapoor witnessed the city’s transformation from a state of sleepiness to a “sprawling global monstrous metropolis.” She credits her development as a novelist to her experiences as a journalist by day and socialising with the newly emergent elite by night. Within these circles, she often felt like an "outsider-insider," gathering stories that eventually inspired her turbulent saga Age of Vice.

Noting that many have attempted to find parallels between the themes in her storyline and The Godfather, Kapoor says that the comparison is interesting but misleading. While crafting the novel, she aimed to utilise the tropes and conventions of the crime thriller genre but also sought to twist and bend them, avoiding the traditional tension-to-resolution format. She wanted the world she built to be more chaotic, reflecting the turbulence of the time we live in. “I wanted to do something more dangerous…I wanted to reflect the instability of the world I live in…it’s basically a roller-coaster that goes off the rails!”said Kapoor.

Chaos is something that one finds not only in her novel, but also in her way of writing, which she defines as organic, chaotic, and unpredictable. Kapoor says her characters do not emerge to dramatise a storyline she already has in mind; instead, she builds on her experiences and encounters with different types of people, drawing from her box of memory and nostalgia, and spills these personalities onto her page. What speaks to Kapoor the most are structures of power, how people end up getting trapped in them, and the compromises they make on their morality — a theme that we see running throughout her book.

Her attempt has also been to take readers away from the most cherished characters and leaving us with the worst, and this, she said, “was a decision because our own physical reality is constructed by people who aren’t exactly nice, there are people like Sunny who have the power to alter our worlds.” But this is the trope that we have in the first novel — the work is planned as a trilogy, so one can only anticipate the twists and turns waiting to happen in the gripping and shaky world of Age of Vice.

As the festival returns to Spain with the second edition of JLF Valladolid, audiences can expect to experience sessions as engrossing as this one! Don't miss out—mark your calendars for June 13-16, 2024, when this literary extravaganza brings you the finest speakers, writers, and thinkers from around the world!

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