Books, Fiction, Reviews

BOOK REVIEW: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The book, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy was recommended to me by a stranger as I stand browsing through hundred of books in a book store last week. I had the book in my hand when suddenly a voice from behind suggests me to take the book with me. I glanced back and saw a smiling sweet face, telling me again to read the book in a polite manner. She was just a reader like me. Picking out books for herself. Previously I thought, there was some jinx in her smile but I guess now, it’s the book too. I took her suggestion under the consideration holding the copy in my hand and bought it home.

The God of Small Things is a smart book. Beautifully crafted plot and the author creates a sensation by the language she uses– witty, sarcastic and coherent at the same time. It never disappoints a reader, if he is indulged in it. The story unfolds the lives of people in Kerala who are the captives of Communism, the caste system, and the Keralite Syrian Christian way of life. It embarks on the journey of the dizygotic twins Rahel and Estha, the children of Ammu Ipe. 

The book opens with Rahel returning from Calcutta and he reaches Ayemenem during the brooding month of summer. Ammu Ipe who had become desperate to marry after she got rejected during marriage proposals due to her dowry, moves to Kolkata to her aunt where she marries a man who worked in a tea estate. The man soon turned out to be an alcoholic and who used to beat her. After Rahel and Estha were born, she moved back to her house in Ayemenem and lived with her and brother Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), her blind mother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), and their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt). When Chacko’s English ex-wife brings their daughter for a Christmas visit, the twins learn that Things Can Change in a Day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever, beside their river.

This book shows that how small things in life can affect a person’s life, narrated brilliantly from the third person point of view the beauty of the book does not ends there. It’s the plot too which is beautiful. Simple, yet complex which increases due to the certain norms of society such as the caste system. It clearly reveals that our lives not really being in our hands, that men are social constructs, our lives being governed by the invisible and incoherent energy which surrounds itself like a spider’s web in a abandoned body. We know there is a cobweb, but we can’t see the spider.

The author has drawn an expressive and fluent picture of the culture and the people in the area. Smells, sights and emotions were vividly portrayed. It’s her remarkable writing which makes the plot exciting. But some of the characters are so richly portrayed that there was no need of it. It just increased length of the book. It also somewhat makes the plot a bit dull in between which I found unacceptable.

The book is a Booker Prize winner in 1997.

3.5 out of 5 from me!


23 thoughts on “BOOK REVIEW: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy”

  1. I read this book SO long ago, which makes it difficult to recall in detail my feelings on it, although I recall being quite enthralled with the discovery of an Indian writer who was making quite the splash on my American shores. According to my mom, I have an interesting tie to this book as my grandmother and Roy’s grandmother are old friends.


  2. This is definitely is a great book. I had no idea what I was getting into when I started reading it. Sometimes, Roy’s use of language was just pure poetry. Needless to say, I was totally blown away by the time I reached the back cover.


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