The beloved debut novel about an affluent Indian family forever changed by one fateful day in 1969, from the author of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • MAN BOOKER PRIZE WINNER
Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing “big things [that] lurk unsaid” in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest. Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated.
Praise for The God of Small Things
“Dazzling . . . as subtle as it is powerful.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
“[The God of Small Things] offers such magic, mystery, and sadness that, literally, this reader turned the last page and decided to reread it. Immediately. It’s that haunting.”—USA Today
“The quality of Ms. Roy’s narration is so extraordinary—at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple—that the reader remains enthralled all the way through.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does.”—John Updike, The New Yorker
“Outstanding. A glowing first novel.”—Newsweek
“Splendid and stunning.”—The Washington Post Book World
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
I started this book twice when I was 18 and it had first come out. I just couldn't get into it. A year later I gave it another shot and found I couldn't put it down. I like the unique writing style that some others have found frustrating. I liked the voice of the book. I found it interesting on so many levels. It's very haunting. I have read it now probably four times and I am about to read it again.
My favorite book ever
I found this book when it was first published years ago. I picked it up, read the first two chapters and had to buy it. I have since read it at least once a year and always find some new detail I over looked due to reading too fast, or lack of life experience. It is a haunting and beautiful story and I strongly recommend it.
The goal of a writer is to make a familiar world unfamiliar and vice versa. Arundati Roy does just that in this novel.