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The God of Small Things Hardcover – April 22, 1997
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In her first novel, award-winning Indian screenwriter Arundhati Roy conjures a whoosh of wordplay that rises from the pages like a brilliant jazz improvisation. The God of Small Things is nominally the story of young twins Rahel and Estha and the rest of their family, but the book feels like a million stories spinning out indefinitely; it is the product of a genius child-mind that takes everything in and transforms it in an alchemy of poetry. The God of Small Things is at once exotic and familiar to the Western reader, written in an English that's completely new and invigorated by the Asian Indian influences of culture and language.
From Publishers Weekly
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.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top customer reviews
This was one of the best books I have had to read for a class. It throws the twins into a situation they never dreamed of being in and shows how one person’s mistakes can affect an entire family. While reading, you slowly begin to see the children lose their innocence and trust in the good things that their world has to offer, which ultimately hardens their hearts.
The conclusion of this novel was very tragic and made me cry. When you learn who the “God of Small Things” is it makes you so happy but you also know what is going to happen and it is so upsetting. But once the twins are reunited as adults, they realize that there was always that special connection between them, even if it isn’t the connection you expect.
Roy’s work successfully shows the corruption of India’s current Love Laws and Caste System. She breaks down borders and builds her characters around these strict laws but allows them to step out of bounds. Through her social commentary, Roy thoroughly describes to the reader what needs to be changed in India. Roy is a fresh and strong voice that stands up against the laws of her land, showing others that change is necessary.
I enjoyed the structure of the book, forward, flashbacks, present. And the quirky prose of the author is absolutely delightful, the images she creates are almost painterly original. I liked the book so much that when I finished, I immediately started reading it again in order to appreciate the weaving back and forth even more, catch the the subtle hints dropped again and again, and even though we know from the beginning that Sophie will die, the suspense is kept until the very end. I loved the book.