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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
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The God of Small Things (original 1997; edition 1997)

by Arundhati Roy

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14,057255147 (3.9)482
Member:brigneti
Title:The God of Small Things
Authors:Arundhati Roy
Info:Random House Inc (1997), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 350 pages
Collections:Your library, To read
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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997)

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» See also 482 mentions

English (226)  Spanish (6)  German (5)  Dutch (5)  Italian (4)  French (3)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (255)
Showing 1-5 of 226 (next | show all)
This novel is a piece of crap with no redeeming qualities. Don't waste your time. ( )
  ShelleyAlberta | Jun 4, 2016 |
What sets Roy's wring apart from others is her creative use of language. Imagine the farting of mud as steps are taken. She was you in the story telling hat happened before and hat happens after, but it is is not till the end that she tells you what happened. Telling the story through the inexperience of twins also helps convey the story of innocent people caught in actions of which they have no control. I was glad I had visited Cochin before reading this, it gave me a better idea of the lushness of the natural beauty. ( )
  brangwinn | May 16, 2016 |
The literary equivalent of taking drugs. A strange cartoon-like and anthropomorphised world in which time is mashed up and things are often very funny. I couldn't finish it. Perhaps my mood or perhaps the lack of narrative drive is to blame, but I was left thinking that there are better things to be doing with my time, like reading Career of Evil. I just had no urge to read on, but don't let that put you off. I'll probably come back to it at some point.
  Lukerik | May 3, 2016 |
The God of Small Things (1997) is Indian novelist Arundhati Roy's first and (so far) only novel, although there are rumours that she is currently writing another. The novel was the first novel written by an Indian woman to win the Booker Prize and it became a bestseller around the world immediately after its publication.

The novel basically tells the story of a family living in Kerala, India. It is about a blind, violin-playing grandmother, Mammachi. An aunt called Baby Kochamma, whose forbidden love for an Irish priest makes her condemn everyone else's happiness. An uncle, Chacko, who is critical of the British colonial rule in India, but proud of his own Oxford education. And Ammu, a mother and divorcee, who is an "unmixable mix" with the "infinite tenderness of motherhood and the reckless rage of a suicide bomber". And, of course, the main characters of the novel, Ammu's children Estha(ppen) and Rahel, 7-year-old children who share a special twin bond.

The main events of the novel center around the visit of Chacko's English ex-wife and daughter to Kerala. During the course of the visit, the family faces two separate tragedies, as forbidden boundaries are crossed and taboos are violated. The twins learn that there are "Love Laws", the laws that "lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much." Breaking such laws is not tolerated and the consequences can be violent.

What makes the novel difficult to read? I guess the main problem is that the plot is not chronological. The first chapter of the novel summarises or hints at all the main events and the tragic ending is revealed as early as page 6 of the novel! But the full story is like a puzzle: it is made up of small fragments, personal memories that emerge randomly and are told through the eyes of the two twins who are forced to witness the brutal realities of the adult world. The language of the novel also divides opinions. It is full of metaphors, word-play, and new compound words that Arundhati Roy has made up. The grass is "wetgreen", the day looks like "thunderdarkness", the river behind the family's house has "a rushing, rolling, fishswimming sense." The smell of old roses is "sicksweet", while handcuffs have a "sourmetal" smell. The movie theatre where the twins go to see The Sound of Music has a door that opens into the "fan-whirring, peanut-crunching darkness". I think the language of the novel is brilliant, beautiful and imaginative, but as I said, others have criticised it.

So now I have also managed point out why some people don't like the novel. I do. I can still honestly say it's the best novel I have read. It's also easy to re-read, because you find something new in it every time (like this time I read it, I realized that the novel quotes the lyrics of The Rolling Stones' song "Ruby Tuesday"!). It's a novel about twins, about families breaking up, about the caste system and patriarchy, about breaking taboos and social laws, about loss and death, about memory and redemption. It's a big book. It's... superlative (for lack of a better adjective). Read it.

Original review ( )
  GoST | Apr 7, 2016 |
I travelled many times in India, and this novel is related to feelings I had there: smells, hot sticky weather, hidden sexuality...
Grande sensibilité, profonds sentiments, enfance maltraitée... ( )
  Gerardlionel | Apr 2, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 226 (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
Arundhati Royprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lundborg, GunillaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Never again will a single story be told as though it's the only one.

John Berger
Dedication
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.
Quotations
"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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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