“A memorable and vivid coming-of-age story.”


S.J. Sindu’s Blue-Skinned Gods tells the story of a boy in Tamil Nadu, India, born with blue skin. Kalki is raised in an ashram believing he is the human incarnation of the god Vishnu, and he knows little of the outside world. As he grows up though, things begin to test his belief and he becomes uncertain of his status as a god. When he goes on a world tour his stop in New York leads Kalki to the underground rock scene, and he finally learns the full truth about himself. Kalki is then forced to find his place in this completely new world.

This fascinating and unique novel explores the human connection to religion, spirituality, belief, and faith; from Hinduism that is at the heart of the novel, to other religions and secular forms of faith. Sindu also explore colourism in her writing, highlighting the issues in the Indian caste system several times throughout the novel, and making reference to creams that aim to lighten skin tone.

As well as exploring ethnicity and caste, S.J. Sindu’s Blue-skinned Gods takes the reader on a journey through gender and sexuality as Kalki begins to expand his horizons and meet new characters that identify as transgender, non-binary, gay, and bisexual. Sindu’s writing also explores transgender identities outside of the western world, introducing Kalki to a group of thirunangaigal who camp on the grounds outside the ashram.

Blue-skinned Gods is a mesmerising, intriguing novel that spans continents, faiths and identities in a heartfelt story that looks at our need to believe in something and the way this can connect us.


Reviewed by:

Catherine Muxworthy, Booksbirdblog

Added 20th January 2022

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Catherine Muxworthy