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Kalki Mass Market Paperback – February 12, 1979
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Top Customer Reviews
The rest of the story is similarly '70s in flavor. An Eastern/Hindu religious sect is claiming that their god Kalki has been reincarnated in the form of an ex-army soldier from the American Midwest. Their scripture claims that when Kalki returns to ride the white horse, the world will end soon afterwards; only the chosen few will survive. Naturally, since this is the '70s, everyone on the planet becomes obsessed with the Kalki story. The newsmagazine show, "60 Minutes" produces an unusually long segment investigating the Kalki phenomenon. Even Walter Cronkite gets into the act, making an amused comment on the impending end of the world.
In between the references to Watergate and the mentions of Ronald Reagan, there's a very effective religious satire going on here. Gore Vidal paints his satirical strokes a little broad at times, but when he focuses, the story soars. Fun is poked at, not only the religious cults that were springing up at the time, but many aspects of pop culture. Some of the jokes still apply today, of course. In fact, were this book to be written now, many of the shots at television news coverage wouldn't need to be changed at all.
Although the book seems most concerned with its satire, it also works extremely well as straight adventure/thriller.Read more ›
There is a woman named Teddy Ottinger: feminist, an aviatrix extraordinaire, divorced mother of two; longing to step into the shoes of her immortal hero Amelia Earhart, even at the expense of the emotional lives of her children, for whom she has little true maternal feelings and little more than a contempt for her ex-husband that had to have been there latently when she married him. Cold, but searching for love and warmth in the arms of both lesbian women and men--and something of meaning in her life via French philosophy--she is summoned to the world of Kalki, the tenth avatar of the god Vishnu, harbringer of the end of the world. But he may also be someone else; a someone else that could make this entire fantasy world she is seemingly caught up in a dangerous lie. Or, he could simply be Kalki, and the world must prepare for the End...
Vidal channels Mark Twain in our century like he always does and creates a novel of social criticism with a style and expertise of which few in history have ever equalled. But with this novel he weaves essential Hinduism and the CIA into it in a way that makes one question not just American society, but reality itself. In two hundred plus pages Vidal will have you sitting on the edge of the bed at two o'clock in the morning with this novel, not being able to put it down, yet being afraid to read the final chapters.
And make no mistake, the final chapters will blow your mind.
I highly recommend this one.
The main character of Kalki is Teddy Ottinger, a smart mouthed feminist who is a world-renowned aviatrix, an author of a feminist tract called "Beyond Motherhood" and an avowed bisexual. It isn't hard to see that Vidal is borrowing heavily from 1970's feminism, with its calls for the ERA and loud blustering. The big news of the day in Teddy's world is an American who is calling himself Kalki, or the avatar of the Hindu god Vishnu. Kalki has returned to the world to end the last cycle of mankind and usher in a new Golden Age of man. Kalki recruits Ottinger as his personal pilot while she is writing a story about him for an American newspaper. Needless to say, lots of hijinks follow, as secret government agents, drug lords and a freaky dude by the name of Dr. Ashok, run around and provide lots of plot twists and turns. Vidal drops lots of clues to what will happen in the end of the book, but the apocalypse Vidal unfolds here is not what Stephen King would have had in mind.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was in French...so great if you speak French; unfortunately I do not.Published 6 months ago by Kirstan Gimse
A wonderful book for fans of the seventies- it really took me back to that era. So much was going on then as in the book- the changing sexual & spiritual mores; & the changing... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Deianera
This really is a very good Gore Vidal novel about apocalypse and the end of the world. Unlike most movies and novels where eventually disaster id avoided or overcome, here the... Read morePublished 18 months ago by Avinesh
I can't accuse this of being overly sophisticated, but I really like the energy and the characters that are spun. Pretty damn engrossing/intoxicating and the story weaves nicely.Published 19 months ago by Donald Paul Carr
One of Gore Vidal's underrated classics. A wonderful read. A bit ominous and very poignant even today.Published 23 months ago by Joseph Young
One of my favorite Gore Vidal books. What a great storyteller he is. Fabulous and intriguing characters. Couldn't put it down.Published on July 16, 2014 by Lady DoodieOh
Too slow to get started, takes too long to establish. May have been a great novel thirty years ago, but a bit slow for today's story narration structures.Published on November 13, 2012 by Amazon Customer
A mostly cynical look at the world of the 1970s. Kurt Vonnegut writing is more bitter but a lot more fun to read. The story is engrossing, and a pretty easy read. Read morePublished on August 2, 2012 by bob coyle
This was an out-of-print book and I feel so fortunate to find it. A great book, and it was in terrific condition. Altogether, I was extremely pleased!Published on September 22, 2010 by CocoCorral