The God of Small Things Review

The God of Small Things- Review

Title: The God of Small Things- Review
Book: The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
Publisher: IndiaInk, India
First Published: 1997
Major Characters: Estha, Rahel, Ammu, Sophie mol, Velutha, Chacko, Baby Kochamma

When I was in high school, I heard about The God of Small Things, but I didn’t read it because somewhere I had heard that the book is difficult to understand. I was a beginner reader at that time, so I didn’t want to take any chance of developing disinterest in my new hobby of reading. But now, after six years of that incident, I finally read it. I love this book and hate it at the same time. Let me tell you more about it.

The God of Small Things is the story of two-egg twins, Estha and Rahel, belonging to a Christian family in Kerala. The story is set in the village of Ayemenem, Kerala, and the central part of the plot occurs in the year 1969. During this time, Estha and Rahel are seven years old. But the story keeps traveling to 1993 when the twins are grown up with things completely changed.

Rahel narrates the major part of the story, but the third-person narration is also used in some places. Since most of the things are seen through a child’s eye, you would really enjoy the little things that children do, how they see the world, and their innocence. This also makes the story somewhat funny because you are bound to laugh if a child narrates the story. But the places you would laugh at are very few because this is a serious story. I mean very serious!

If you’re happy in a dream, does that count?
-Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

The narrative used in The God of Small Things is non-sequential, where events in the story don’t unfold chronologically. The story often goes to the past to tell you the history of each character and their failed affairs, and sometimes the story goes to the future to give you some hint of what is going to happen. The story of three different generations is told at the same time, going back and forth in time. Seriously speaking, if you don’t read it with concentration, you will get frustrated.

The God of Small Things is mainly shaped by love, social discrimination, and Indian politics. Social discrimination between the upper and lower caste in Kerala is the main focus of the story. The story will also tell you that there are no boundaries for love because love is a powerful force that can not be controlled by any social, political, or geographical barrier. Forbidden love and betrayal are common in the story; you would find it often in the novel. The story contains family fights, violence, illicit sex, love affairs, child sexual abuse, death, betrayal, and murder. If you just want to enjoy a light read, this novel is not a good choice. The book is enjoyable, but it will make you feel pity for the characters because every character in the story suffers.

The way her body existed only where he touched her. The rest of her was smoke.
-Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things is a controversial book, and just like most of the extraordinary things, the novel is praised as well as criticized.  The characters have somewhat difficult names, which is troublesome to remember. You wouldn’t understand what the story is about till you finish it. Reading this book is a challenge.

However, this novel is a literary marvel. Every word is carefully chosen. Every sentence is perfectly structured. The words flow like poetry, and you would feel the magic. I loved how the author subtly explains the hurtful things, no screaming out loud. Once you finish reading it, the story will revolve in your mind for days, as it happens with all the good stories.

..the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.
That is their mystery and their magic.
-Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

I experienced that the book is a living being having a soul of its own. No wonder The God of Small Things is the winner of the 1997 booker prize and is considered the best fiction book of India. I would suggest this novel to all those who are somewhat experienced readers and want to read something heavy.

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