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God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
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God Of Small Things (original 1997; edition 1999)

by Arundhati Roy

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15,622283197 (3.89)574
Member:sbr5d
Title:God Of Small Things
Authors:Arundhati Roy
Info:Random House Value Publishing (1999), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997)

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English (249)  Spanish (7)  French (6)  German (5)  Dutch (5)  Italian (4)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Catalan (1)  Finnish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (282)
Showing 1-5 of 249 (next | show all)
Roy’s debut novel, while written in luminous prose, was a challenge for me to follow in audio format. Roy takes an unusual – but not unheard of – non-sequential approach to the story: she starts the story with its ending in 1997 and, through a complex patchwork of 1969 flashbacks and segues into side stories, leads the reader to the start. I probably would have had an easier time following the shifting focus of the story if I had been reading it in print format, but no matter. At it’s heart, this is a multi-generational family saga virtually overflowing with themes to generate thought and discussion. The illicit breaking of the “Love Law” (theme of forbidden love) acts as the centre to the widening rippling rings of the story. Roy’s prose is lush and inviting, even when the story takes unpleasant, disturbing and tragic turns, while Roy skillfully maintains a sense of foreboding of something to come. It is a story where children lose their innocence and trust. Where cultures and language collide as Western influences permeates the Indian culture. Where sexual and caste conflict have wide reaching impact.

Overall, a satisfying read that may have had a larger impact on me if I had chosen to read, instead of listen, to the story. ( )
  lkernagh | Jan 4, 2019 |
At times, I found the language gimmicky and over-wrought. It shouted "look at me. How Clever I am..." but by the end, I was suitably impressed and on board with the outstanding reviews. Well done. ( )
  maryroberta | Jan 1, 2019 |
This novel is written in such a beautiful, unique voice. The story revolves around fraternal ("two egg") twins, Rahel and Estha, and their family in 1960s Kerala, India. We learn from the very first pages that the tragic death of a visiting cousin alters the lives of the family for the rest of their lives, but Roy does not reveal the details of the events until the end of the book. After so much buildup, the facts of that fateful night are underwhelming at best. However, the beauty of Roy's lyrical prose and her exploration of India's caste system make up for the plot's shortcomings. The God of Small Things deserves its place on Boxall's list of 1001 Books to Read Before You Die. ( )
  bookishblond | Oct 24, 2018 |
Let me tell you one thing. Such a detailed imaginative form of writing. You go literally feel the things that are going on with the characters. Once in a life time you feel you are living so close to the characters. ( )
  siddharthabayye | Aug 29, 2018 |
Reading it again after 20 years I rediscover this brilliant book. The story is not told starting in the beginning and ending with the end. A.R. had trained as an architect and - as she herself had said somewhere - the book is written as one would construct a house: first the main structure, then filling in the details. We are already told the end in the first chapter. (These jumps in time can confuse at first, also how the persons relate emerges only gradually; I went back and started again after 50 or so pages. Good: many hints to still untold events I had overlooked; then there is also her unique language, her play with words, her ‘dancing language’ (Cynthia van den Driesen, in: Dhawan, 1999): the book demands to be read slowly!)

This story is her child, like - as it is said (in Ch. 12) - the stories of the Kathakali Man ‘are his children and his childhood’. ‘They don’t deceive you with trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. […] 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.’
Yes, indeed, Arundhati Roy has written a Great Story!

Later in the same Chapter one of the protagonists relates an old legend: ‘when the ordinarily good-natured Bhima began to bay and snarl, he is searching for the beast that lives in him.“ But then follows the comment by ‘We and Us’[Rahel]: ‘Searching for the man who lives in him was perhaps what he really meant, because certainly no beast has essayed the boundless, infinitely inventive art of human hatred. No beast can match its range of power.’ - How true! The old proverb Homo homini lupus est is an insult to wolves!
Roy said in an interview „that you can never understand the nature of brutality until you see what has been loved being smashed. The book deals with our ability to be brutal as well as our ability to be so deeply intimate and loving.“ ( cited in Dhawan, 1999, p.254 ).

Much has been said and written about her novel. R.K. Dhawan (1999) gathered a number of essays under headings like ‘The Woman’s Question’, ‘Exploring India’s Past and Present’, ‘Thematic Variations (Childhood, Symbolism, Anger,…)’, ‘Language’, etc. (VII-18) ( )
  MeisterPfriem | Jul 28, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 249 (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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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 14 descriptions

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