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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things (1997)

by Arundhati Roy

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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"A few dozen hours can affect the outcomes of whole lifetimes...Little events...suddenly become the bleached bones of a story", 1 April 2017

This review is from: The God of Small Things (Paperback)
Set in Kerala, Southern India, in the 1970s and today, this is a totally original work. 31 year old Rahel is returning to her childhood home - to her aunt 'Baby' Kochamma and the twin brother she has not seen for many years.
From the first page the reader realises this is a work of masterful prose; Roy's descriptions bring the rank and humid village and its river to life.
"Outside the rain had stopped. The grey sky curdled and the clouds resolved themselves into little lumps like substandard mattress stuffing."

There is a childhood tragedy which somehow had lasting implications for the whole family, but this is only slowly revealed in all its detail, as the narrative shifts backwards and forwards. There are moments of great humour as we see the world through the eight-year-old twins' eyes; also of heartbreak, as their lives are ruined forever by an accident and by the malice of the adults around them.

Although it's masterly writing, maybe it leaves the reader more impressed than emotionally touched, but still a great novel. ( )
  starbox | Apr 1, 2017 |
The God of Small Things is exquisite. Arundhati Roy doesn’t just tell a story, her descriptions are so evocative that the words seem to pop off the pages and all the tastes, smells, sounds, suns and monsoon rains of India that run through her prose are tangible. This is a very clever book, in a non-pretentious way. The story is told through a non-linear narrative between 1969 and 1993 and spans four generations of a family. Twins Rahel and Estha are the main protagonists, (although the world is seen largely from Rahel’s perspective) We are told about two major events in chapter one that shape the entire story and by gaining this knowledge so early it creates a sense of dread that enormously impacts how this book is read. This is a tale of fate and how quickly innocence can be lost, how far reaching the things we say or don’t say can be, the impact of who we love or don’t love and how much or how little has on those around us, who we blame for our grief, who suffers the consequences of the actions of others and how the blameless end up becoming the blamed. I love this book, it’s beautiful, sad, witty and soulful. What it isn’t is a light read, it’s traumatic, graphic and so haunting that it will stay with you long after you have finished reading the final words of the last sentence. ( )
  FleurAngelineNixon | Feb 25, 2017 |
Some of us liked the book and others were frustrated by the often unfluid movement between time-frames, making the narration often confusing. Themes of love, childhood, families and decay. ( )
  Bibliofemmes | Jan 14, 2017 |
Roy's prose is lyrical and inventive, and the main narrative is an engaging, and finally devastating, indictment of the caste system, seen through the eyes of children. I didn't think the payoff was there in the end, though, and at times the style was too self-conscious, too overwrought. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
This book was so ridiculously amazing ( )
  joshanastasia | Oct 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 231 (next | show all)
If Ms. Roy is sometimes overzealous in foreshadowing her characters' fate, resorting on occasion to darkly portentous clues, she proves remarkably adept at infusing her story with the inexorable momentum of tragedy. She writes near the beginning of the novel that in India, personal despair ''could never be desperate enough,'' that ''it was never important enough'' because ''worse things had happened'' and ''kept happening.'' Yet as rendered in this remarkable novel, the ''relative smallness'' of her characters' misfortunes remains both heartbreaking and indelible.

» Add other authors (22 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roy, Arundhatiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lundborg, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Never again will a single story be told as though it's the only one.

John Berger
For Mary Roy, who grew me up. Who taught me to say "excuse me" before interrupting her in Public. Who loved me enough to let me go. For LKC, who, like me, survived.
First words
May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month.
Maj je v Ajemenemu vroč, morast mesec.
"D'you know what happens when you hurt people? When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less."
"Just ignore her," Ammu said. "She's just trying to attract attention."

Ammu too was wrong. Rahel was trying to not attract the attention that she deserved.
Rahel looked around her and saw that she was in a Play. But she had only a small part.
She was just the landscape. A flower perhaps. Or a tree.
A face in the crowd. A Townspeople.
Heaven opened and the water hammered down, reviving the reluctant old well, greenmossing the pigless pigsty, carpet bombing still, tea-coloured puddles the way memory bombs still, tea-coloured minds.
Rahel drifted into marriage like a passenger drifts towards an unoccupied chair in an airport lounge. With a Sitting Down sense.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0060977493, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:37 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

The story of an Indian family during the 1969 Communist disturbances in Kerala province. It is told through the eyes of a boy and his sister who are the children of a rich rubber planter. Politics, family drama, illicit love. A debut in fiction.

» see all 8 descriptions

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