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"Age of Vice"

By Antara Gangwal Apr. 5, 2023

Five people lay dead on Delhi’s Inner Ring Road, murdered by a speeding Mercedes in the frigid winter. So begins “Age of Vice,” with the prologue instantly setting the novel’s tone—one doused in opulence. In this debut thriller, Deepti Kapoor attempts to chronicle the intricate entanglements of the main characters and the vices that burden them, yet the novel itself is burdened by stylistic choices that hinder its potential.

“Age of Vice” opens with the story of Ajay, a boy born in poverty in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India. After his father is killed and his mother sells him to work for a wealthy family, Ajay climbs the ranks of society and secures a job working as the personal servant of Sunny Wadia—the son of the infamous and affluent Bunty Wadia. Soon, Ajay is enmeshed in the grand monopoly that the Wadias hold. Yet, the family’s grandeur conceals a web of corruption that ties together countless other characters.

The scope of the novel is immense, and new characters and subplots are frequently introduced. So many events are packed in under 600 pages that they all blur into one another, failing to produce a compelling storyline. The muddled plot is exacerbated by Kapoor’s choppy writing style—sentences attempting to have depth instead come off as abrupt. Conversely, irrelevant subplots are often described in exalting detail, detracting from significant plot points. Furthermore, the character development is so lacking that I could not bring myself to care for any of the characters’ ambitions or feelings throughout the novel.

What is truly disappointing is that beneath the muddled surface of “Age of Vice” lies the tendrils of a powerful story. The atmospheric setting of Delhi, the stark differences between the elite and the working class in Indian society, the exploration of the irrevocable consequences of the characters’ choices and the pervasive grip of westernization—Kapoor attempts to address all of these themes, but her sloppy execution leaves “Age of Vice” falling short of its promising potential.

By the time I turned the novel’s final page, I was left both utterly confused and thankful that it was over. “Age of Vice” could have been as glittering gold as its cover is deeply dark, but it is unfortunately encumbered by many shortcomings.


About the Contributors

Antara Gangwal

staff writer

Antara Gangwal is a sophomore at Leland High School and is a staff writer for The Charger Account. Her hobbies include reading, watching films and listening to music.

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