The Asian literary phenomenon of the 90s.
More magical than Mistry, more of a rollicking good read than Rushdie, more nerve-tinglingly imagined than Naipaul, here, perhaps, is the greatest Indian novel by a woman. Arundhati Roy has written an astonishingly rich, fertile novel, teeming with life, colour, heart-stopping language, wry comedy and a hint of magical realism.
Set against a background of political turbulence in Kerala, Southern India, The God of Small Things tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel. Amongst the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother’s factory, they try to craft a childhood for themselves amidst what constitutes their family – their lonely, lovely mother, their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist and bottom-pincher) and their avowed enemy Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grand-aunt).
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Words pinwheel and sizzle throughout Indian writer Arundhati Roy’s astonishing debut, which clinched the Man Booker Prize in 1997. Shifting between present and past, The God of Small Things centres on Rahel and Estha Kochamma, fraternal twins who’ve never recovered from the traumas of their short-lived childhood. Upon returning to her maternal family’s lushly decaying Kerala estate, Rahel—who’s divorced from her American husband and adrift—reunites with her brother and reflects back on the events that tore them apart. With dazzling originality, Roy explores India’s rich and problematic modern history and challenges notions of what constitutes real love.
With sensuous prose, a dreamlike style infused with breathtakingly beautiful images and keen insight into human nature, Roy's debut novel charts fresh territory in the genre of magical, prismatic literature. Set in Kerala, India, during the late 1960s when Communism rattled the age-old caste system, the story begins with the funeral of young Sophie Mol, the cousin of the novel's protagonists, Rahel and her fraternal twin brother, Estha. In a circuitous and suspenseful narrative, Roy reveals the family tensions that led to the twins' behavior on the fateful night that Sophie drowned. Beneath the drama of a family tragedy lies a background of local politics, social taboos and the tide of history--all of which come together in a slip of fate, after which a family is irreparably shattered. Roy captures the children's candid observations but clouded understanding of adults' complex emotional lives. Rahel notices that "at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. The Big Things lurk unsaid inside." Plangent with a sad wisdom, the children's view is never oversimplified, and the adult characters reveal their frailties--and in one case, a repulsively evil power--in subtle and complex ways. While Roy's powers of description are formidable, she sometimes succumbs to overwriting, forcing every minute detail to symbolize something bigger, and the pace of the story slows. But these lapses are few, and her powers coalesce magnificently in the book's second half. Roy's clarity of vision is remarkable, her voice original, her story beautifully constructed and masterfully told. First serial to Granta; foreign rights sold in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Holland, India, Greece, Canada and the U.K.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A must read
This is truly an incredible book, should be read more than once. Beware it will make you cry, passed it to my son who texted me from the bus to work to say he can't believe he cried reading a book in public!
My Favourite Novel
I have just finished this book for the fourth time. I bought the iBook because I had to have it in my pocket. We all hear of books that are better when re-read but this is truly designed for that reason; to open the page anywhere and be able to enjoy