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The God of Small Things by  Arundhati Roy - Paperback - from World of Books Ltd (SKU: GOR001788181)

The God of Small Things

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The God of Small Things

by Roy, Arundhati

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Arundhati Roy is an Indian novelist born in 1961. Her Man Booker prizewinning novel, The God of Small Things took her over four years to write. The God of Small Things is set in the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India. The story covers the lives of a pair of twins who experience loss at an early age, and is a compelling family drama that unfolds before the reader, demonstrating how the small things in life can leave an astonishingly profound mark on a person’s life. The story follows a 7-year old girl named Rahel and her twin brother Estha. The children are living with their divorced mother Ammu. The Kerala society in which they reside is described as being tradition-bound and highly conventional. The children soon learn that their lives can change in a moment and that love and happiness are not permanent. Sophie Mol is the children’s cousin, and while playing out on the bayou, Sophie Mol is drowned, tragedy striking without warning. The novel is a haunting, splendid telling of this vividly worded story.


On Oct 19 2013, CloggieDownunder said:
The God of Small Things, the first (and so far, only) novel by Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, was written between 1992 and 1996. This (semi-autobiographical) story takes place in the village of Ayemenem and the town of Kottayam, near Cochin in Kerala, and is set principally during two time periods: December 1969 and 23 years later. The main characters are Esthappen (Estha) and Rahel, seven-year-old two-egg (i.e. non-identical) twins, and their mother Ammu. Ammu falls in love with Velutha Paapen, a Paraven (Untouchable) who works for the family’s Pickle Factory, a man the twins already list amongst their most-loved. But even in 1969, with a Communist Government, parts of India are still firmly in the grip of the Caste system. By breaking the "Love Laws," or "The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much”, Ammu and the twins set in motion “The Terror”. The manipulations of Ammu’s aunt, Baby Kochamma, are instrumental in bringing down The Terror, and her subsequent cruelty to Ammu and the twins will leave readers gasping. As well as commenting on the Caste system and Class discrimination in general, the novel examines Indian history and politics, the taboos of conventional society, and religion. But more than anything, this is a story about love and betrayal. The innocent observations of 7-year-olds, their interpretation of unfamiliar words and phrases, the (typically Indian) Capitalisation of Significant Words, the running together of and splitting apart of words , the phonetic spelling, all are a source of humour and delight in this novel. “It’s an afternoon-mare”, Estha-the-Accurate replied. “She dreams a lot”. Even as Estha is being molested by the Orangedrink Lemondrink man in the Abhilash Talkies, his observations (“Not a moonbeam.”) bring laughter. Echoes, repetitions and resonances abound. Roy is a master of the language: “So futile. Like polishing firewood.” Her prose is luminous. This novel is powerful, moving, tragic. Beautifully written, with wonderful word pictures.This novel demands at least two reads: once to learn the story; a second time to appreciate the echoes and repetitions and understand what the early references mean. It deserves a third reading to fully appreciate the prose, the descriptive passages. On this, my third reading, I read parts I would swear I had not read earlier. And I had tears in my eyes very early in the novel. I loved this book when I first read it: I love it even more now. I remain hopeful that Arundhati Roy will share her considerable literary talents with her eager readers in the form of another novel.
On Oct 21 2007, GAURAVVAGHMARE said:
In this novel, Roy explores a matrix of social and cultural anxieties. The book runs into the flash-back of one of the central protagonists, Rahel, who has returned from America to her hometown Ayemenem after 23 years, reuniting with her twin brother Esthappen. The novel is concentrated with emotional turmoils resulting into dramatic climax. I recommend this novel a �MUST READ� to all mature readers.

Firstly the death of Sophie Mol is revealed, which holds very little significance then but forms a vital component of the climax. Then we learn about Baby Kochamma and her love affairs. In the second chapter the other set of characters, Mammachi and Chako, are delineated. Initially Roy floods our brains with an enormous number of characters making it quite confusing to identify who is who, but the first chapter consists of main ideas of the book which are supported by further chapters and hence nothing remains obscure.

There are several themes such as love, spite, betrayal, hatred, envy and guilt that are portrayed in an exquisite manner. Roy has been an excellent alchemist in blending these themes. Love between the two humans governed by the artificial �Love Laws�. Hatred showed by one�s own family member towards someone who has disobeyed the �so-called� love laws. If I reveal anything more, I will be messing the suspense.

Rahel�s return to Ayamenem after such a long time gets her nostalgic tracing in an episodic manner the tragic events in her childhood and unfolding the secrets of happiness and tragedies. The incidents are placed in no particular order, rather they are jumbled up and we, readers have to put the jigsaw together in order to get a picture, which is adventurous but not difficult.

There is a blanketed love-story which is subtle but not revealed until the last few chapters. The theme of �caste� revolves around that love-story. There has been poignant description of the treatment of the Parwans in Kerala.

��pushed Vellya Paapen with all her strength. He stumbled backwards, down the kitchen steps and lay sprawled in the wet mud������being an untouchable he was expecting not to be touched�

�How could she stand that smell? Haven�t you noticed? They have a particular smell, these Parvans.�

Pg. 256 & 257

Vellya is a Parvan who is being ill-treated by Mammachi. The second set of lines is said by Kochamma who comments on their physical state.

Morally strenuous and imaginatively supple art of narration and imagery of Ms Roy has been very successful in painting the scene to the reader.

�Her heavy, dull gold kunukku earrings had stretched her earlobes and hung all the way down to her shoulders. Through the holes in her ear you could see the hot river and the dark trees that bent into it. And the fishermen in their boats. And the fish.�

Pg. 30

Ammu�s death is an excellent sentimental narration by Arundhati literally getting the tears down our eyes with the heavy tension and emotional upheaval.

�Each breath she took was like a war against the steely fist that was trying to squeeze the air out from lungs.�

Pg 160

Had I to quote every excellent narration, this review would turn into a half-size novel.

Coming to the characters, Baby Kochamma�s diminutive nature makes her the �villain�. Her general stagnation and failure to go forward in life is marked by her meddlesome, in informal terms � �nosy parker�. Velutha, the man who has been serving Reverend Ipe�s family for quite a long time, and does almost every work ranging from fitting the tap to fixing canning machine. HE is the �The God of Small Things�. Ammu the mother of twins is supposedly a disgrace to her family due to her unsuccessful married life with a Hindu man. She is a typical Indian Single mother who has to face the society with a bowed head, as the inspector calls her Veshya (prostitute).

Roy leaves us with a hopeful view of life despite the horrors that are exposed in the final chapters. The last chapter �The Cost of Living� is another piece of emotional work, suggests that one can either live well at the risk of dying early, or live a long life that is unfulfilled. Baby didn�t get her love, Father Mulligan and hence she lives vicariously. But the ones in true love living a most vibrant, rich life together in secret before dying prematurely.

On the whole, the mature readers can enjoy this novel. It may tend to bore the younger generation, but I can guarantee that the crude stones that they will gather by reading this novel, will turn into precious gems in future. The ingredients of this novel are the recipe for one�s personal perspective.

Gaurav Vaghmare

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World of Books Ltd GB (GB)
Bookseller's Inventory #
The God of Small Things
Roy, Arundhati
Book condition
Used - Acceptable
Harper Perennial
Place of Publication
New York
This edition first published

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