The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy tells the story of Indian characters who all broke the rules. They all crossed into forbidden territory. A landscape of extravagant ruin. A political fable, part psychological drama, part fairy tale.
But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said.
The Big Things lurk unsaid inside.
This Booker Prize-winning novel was the literary sensation of the 1990s. Roy presents little puzzle pieces which could be part of a beautiful diamond shape storyline which the reader untangles in a non-chronological order. As we read along, we drift into the Indian world and become aware that the concept of time is relative.
It felt as if I was training my own mind to pay closer attention to the world we live in. Roy's voice not only blows into the storyline but also inside the reader's mind.
This is the story of Rahel and Estha, twins growing up among the banana vats and peppercorns of their blind grandmother's factory, and amid scenes of political turbulence in Kerala. Armed only with the innocence of youth, they fashion a childhood in the shade of the wreck that is their family: their lonely, lovely mother, their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher) and their sworn enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun, incumbent grand-aunt).
Favourite parts in the book?
...Rahel's list was an attempt to order chaos. She revised it constantly, torn forever between love and duty. It was by no means a true gauge of her feelings. (p.151)
...The thing to remember was that the very fact that she had a choice was a great privilege. (p.160)
...This knowing slid into him cleanly, like the sharp edge of a knife. (p.177)
...Here they had discovered for themselves the disconnected delights of underwater farting. (p.203)
What have I taken from this book?
Everything can change in a day.
Yes, exactly that. The entire storyline is a reminder that we are not in control of the chain of incidents once it's set in motion.
But also, that the small things are not merely small things. It all depends on the voice and the observer noticing these small things. You can sing a beautiful song when you can read the music sheet.
Author: Arundhati Roy (Sagittarius Sun/Mars, Gemini Moon, Mercury/Venus/Neptune in Scorpio, Saturn in Capricorn, Jupiter in Aquarius, Pluto/Uranus in Virgo)
Title: The God of Small Things
Publisher: Harper Collins
Have you read anything by Arundhati Roy yet - maybe her new book which just came out?
Or can you recommend any other Indian authors?
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