The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Summary from Goodreads:

"They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much."

The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, fraternal twins Esthappen and Rahel fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family. Their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu, (who loves by night the man her children love by day), fled an abusive marriage to live with their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), 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...

The first thing that caught my attention about The God of Small Things is the language. Roy seems to have crafted her own. She has somehow given more weight to the words and made them stick to my skull. Capitalization of common nouns, intentional misspellings, combining two or more words into one, and the repetition of these things and other phrases all throughout the narrative. Okay, this sounds like it's a mess, but it's not. Her kind of writing makes everything more vivid and gut-wrenching, and amplifies innocence and sadness and pain and grief. 

As I was reading this, I was kind of reminded by Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children (but a lot less confusing). The sticky, thick and heady atmosphere, and the zipping back and forth the past, present and future. There is that sense of being choked and that feeling of impending doom that Roy perfectly conveys. And the story does takes it's time in revealing the Terror that ripped the family to pieces. There is a gradual spilling of skeletons from the closet, but when everything finally lay uncovered, I kind of appreciated the slow burn. And since Roy narrates the story via multiple characters, you get to really have a full circle grasp of what happened to this family.

This novel tackles so many things that it can be a bit overwhelming, and if somebody asks me what this book is about right now, I probably would flounder, and maybe say something that nowhere near encompass it's entirety. It is a sprawling family saga, largely about loves and losses, with cultural and political themes. Does that work? Anyway, The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is now my favorite Man Booker Prize Winner read. Okay, I don't read Bookers that much, actually. Still, it says something about how powerful I found this novel to be.

Comments

  1. Great novel but alas, I didn't warm up to its style. It's one of the most popular Booker winners (my favorites, by the way, are The Remains of the Day and The Sense of an Ending).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am actually thinking of reading The Remains of the Day this year. This was recommended to me by Meliza. Besides I like butlers. :)

      Delete
  2. I also loved how Roy played with words. The repetition was a good tool to remind the readers not to forget. It's like down the line a word or phrase will likely be repeated again, but it will evoke a different feeling from the last one. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! It's like the words garner new meanings each time! :)

      Delete
  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Same here. The words Roy used made me more aware of their importance and the symbolism she wants to convey to the reader.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes and yes! I am now less afraid of Bookers. Haha.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Civilwarland in Bad Decline by George Saunders

Trese: Murder at Balete Drive by Budjette Tan, Art by Kajo Baldisimo

Dramacon: Vol. 1 by Svetlana Chmakova