Monday, May 31, 2010

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

                      The much acclaimed book - 'The God of Small Things' won the booker prize in 1997 and ever since Indian women authors have shared a special respect in the literary circles. I wonder why I had postponed this book so long since books by Indian women  always captivate me - be it Chitra Banerji or Jhumpa Lahiri or the most recent Indu Sundaresan .
                        The story is based around the life of dizygotic twins Estha and Rahel and the town of Ayemenen in Kerala forms the backdrop for the tale. The book entirely has a Kerala touch to it right from the pleasantaries used to the communist activists rampant there to the way grandparents are addressed as Mamachi and Pappachi. The story is told from the view point of the 7 year old twins and what is gripping is that it is filld with flash backs and forwards that sometimes you will have to context switch your mind to tune it from past to present to future.
                         The book left me with mixed feelings. Arundhati's writing style is indeed mind blowing . Her knack of drawing humour even in the saddest of situations makes it a good read. However the book was a tad too sad for me. It kind of left me thinking that there are people whose life is filled with hopelessness . There is no situation in the book where the family (the twins and their mom) see any form of happiness. Abandoned by a drunk dad ,admonished by their aunt (Baby Kochamma),being blamed for the death of their cousin ,Sophie all left me thinking that there is no light at the end of the tunnel for these characters.
                     A good read as it gives you a lot of insights into the Kerala culture . Also worth reading for the innocence dripping in the book since the  incidents are narrated from a 7 year old's perspective. Overall a mixed bag of emotions with sadness ruling it .


  1. Divya said...
    glad you liked and disliked the book! I have always loved it for the honest writing and innocence.. and of course the innovative writing style.
    Sai said...
    I dint really like the book, rather the story. I have never really been a big fan of "Booker Prize" winners. Some parts were predictable and some, really well written. On the whole, I dint quite enjoy the book.

    Do you like reading autobiographies?

    Also, have you read George Orwell's nineteen eighty four?
    Vaishnavi said...
    I haven't read this one fully. I started in on it five years ago but found I couldn't get through. It is on my TBR list for this year though!
    Vaishnavi said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Hannah Stoneham said...
    What a thoughtful, honest review of this book. i read it when I was a teenager soon after it won the booker and was upset for some time afterwards as I remember - it is extremely sad - although not as sad as A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry in my view. I think that the reason I have good memories of the book, and was totally impressed by it is that it is shockingly well written - the descriptions and sense of place are wonderful as I remember.

    Thank you for sharing

    swetha said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Shilpa said...
    I am glad i came across your blog Preeti! I have got so much insight into many books and authors unknown to me. I agree Roy's book ends on a sad note but her story is beautifully constructed. Although i think she gets into too much details which sometimes hinders the pace of story.
    PM said...
    @dd : i knew you always liked this book. True blue mally style
    @Sai : I have read G Orwell's Animal Farm. Need to get my hands on 1984 too
    @vaishnavi : LOl tbr for a year eh? I have had the same problem with haruki murakami's books. Never able to finish them coz they get boring beyond a point
    @hannah : Thanks. A fine balance is on my To be read list too
    @shilpa : Thanks for stopping by. Yeah it is indeed a well written book
    sheba said...
    I read this one a while back..and didnt like it..but something tells me I might need to give it another reading ....
    Anonymous said...
    I loved this book and the writing style. I generally find that Man Booker winners (particularly those from India) work really well for me.

    It is a very sad book though

    How I wish she would wrote more fiction :(
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    A.T.Raghu Nandan said...
    this is one of my favourite novels and also Yann Martel's life of pi & shashi tharoor's the great indian novel... nice review wishes :-)
    Put On The Day said...
    If you liked this, you might be interested in "The 19th Wife"by David Ebershoff which tells the story of the mormon, Brigham Young, and one of his wife's who begins to question polygamy (and him).

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