‘The God of Small Things’ by Arundhati Roy follows the story of seven-year-old twins, Estappen and Rahel, as they navigate life in Southen India during 1969. A hostile political climate, love laws, a family tragedy, and a series of ‘small things’ collide to alter the course of their lives.
‘The God of Small Things’ is highly stylised and reads like a long poem. Roy makes extensive use of repetition to the point where objects, places and people become symbols. Her sensuous imagery seeks to represent India’s beauty and brutality on the page. Some of these images I’d rather forget, others are breathtaking.
The story is dense and the themes are emotionally loaded and, at times, controversial. Explicit scenes might upset sensitive readers.
My feelings about this one are complicated. I didn’t like all of it but, overall, I loved it. It made an impact on me and will stay with me because it was so different. It breaks the ‘rules’ in many ways. After I finished it, the story kept surfacing in my mind and I held off starting a new book until I processed this one. The story is tragic, but it never promises to be anything else. Sadness and loss weave through the story right from the start.
“…the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again… 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.”Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things
It’s not for everyone. Steer clear if you prefer your murder mystery or love story more traditional. If you are a literary enthusiast, or you enjoy dense flowery writing, or you like to experience different cultures through books, this will absolutely be worth your while.