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Paperback God of Small Things Book

ISBN: 0679309411

ISBN13: 9780679309413

God of Small Things

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Book Overview

#1 INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER#1 CANADIAN BESTSELLER#1 UK BESTSELLERNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERA NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK OF THE YEARThe international publishing sensation of 1997 -- translated into 18 languages -- a magical, sophisticated tour de force now available in a stunning Vintage Canada edition.The God of Small Things heralds a voice so powerful and original that it burns itself into the reader's memory. Set mainly in Kerala, India, in 1969,...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Imaginative and compelling

My sister had been telling me to read this book for a long time and I just never got around to it. I wanted to, but I have to admit that the subject matter seemed pretty standard for an award-winning book: 'The God of Small Things' centers around a tragedy that rends a family apart and its lasting effects on the twins who were at the heart of it. But the truth is that there is little that is standard about Arundhati Roy's writing. She tells her story in a completely original narrative that puts you inside the heads of the young twins who drive the plot. You see the world through the slightly fantastic, exaggerated eyes of a child caught in very grown-up circumstances. I can see that some would criticize her style as "weird", but that is the whole beauty of it. Most children that I know see the world in a slightly off-kilter way (and I know for a fact that I did). That's just the nature of kids. The innocence of the perspective makes the events of the plot seem that much more disturbing and downright chilling. I was wrong to expect a by-the-numbers book when I picked this up. Ms. Roy's novel is very original and well written. Now if only she would write another fiction book!

One of the best books I've read...innovative language

What is the God of Small Things? Small things are what we talk about when the big things are too difficult and too overwhelming. This book is the story of the childhood of non-fraternal twins, Rahel & Estha - a girl and a boy, family, forbidden lovers, politics, and tradition. Ammu is the twins' mother; a woman of a priviledged family who married, then divorced her twins' alcoholic father. Baby Kochamma is their manipulative spinster aunt who pines for a priest she met as a young girl. Sophie Mol is a visting Indian/English cousin who meets her end soon after arriving. The story progresses, in a backwards and forwards manner, telling the tale(s) that ended their childhoods. The children, utimately become pawns in the cruel "history" being played out by the adults around them. We often see the result of the action, before we know what occurred; a complex puzzle unfolding. This story encorporates issues of human relationships, the complicated emotions and repurcussions of the caste system, brutality, and the ability to survive. Holding together the microcosms of the many "small" stories within this story is Roy's use of language. The silly rhymes of the children, their imaginative nicknames for adults, and their view of the love and cruelty of adults, and the interpretation of the world on their terms, creates a framework for this story. The use of "non-standard" English is widely used, which some reviews seem to believe is unintentional. For instance, verbs are sometimes capitalized in order to emphasize the inevitability, the concrete-ness, of the action. Sentances are often framented in order to express a thought, especially a child's thought. (I certainly don't think in complete, grammatical sentances myself). It's really quite beautifully written. It takes a few pages to get to the heart of the story, but once there you will be enthralled. If you are open to an innovative use of language and story telling, along with complex, emotional narrative, you will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it.

Small is Beautiful

Set in Kerala during the late 1960s when communism rattled the age-old caste system, The God of Small Things begins with the funeral of young Sophie Mol, the cousin of the novel's protagonists Rahel and her fraternal twin brother, Estha. In a circuitous and suspense--filled narrative, it is a story of decadence of a family with a hoary past, trapped in a time bubble (the time on the painted face of child Rahel's watch always reads "ten to two"). The bubble is tossed like a yo-yo by the great surge of events, ready to burst any moment. Nevertheless this steady, mechanical and almost pre-ordained process of withering, stirs up great passions, with its attendant ironies and pathos. In the end, we have a classic with a tragic grandeur, albeit of small things! "A story is a simple way of presenting a complex world and in my book I have tried to create a complete world carefully with craft and detail," clarifies Arundhati Roy, the author while talking to mediapersons. Things unfold in the Ayemenem House, now mossy, soaky and dusty, but once the symbol of pride for the Syrian Christian clan. Here, the characters inch towards their doomed destinies. Things culminate with the arrival of Sophie Mol with her mother Margaret Kochamma, to visit her `biological father,' Chacko. A stealthy jaunt, masterminded by her cousins Estha and Rahel, climaxes in her death by drowning. This incident, alongwith the exposed rendezvous of Ammu, the divorced daughter of the house with an low caste menial, lets loose all kinds of passions, rage, trickery and madness. Expulsions, separations and deaths follow, turning the place to a phantom of its old glory. The old house had a fatal attraction about it. Every character returned there -- defeated, deserted and drained by the big, bad world, where they had dispersed earlier. The parallel here is all too discernible to miss -- of the returning Malayalees from their "unhappy" working places in the Gulf. But once back to Ayemenem House, the characters are trapped -- just like the small bird in the Plymouth, which, unable to find a way out of the car, dies there. All these, seen through the innocent eyes of Estha and Rahel, give a coat of freshness to the narrative. The children's perspective, apart from the overdose of similes and contrived usages, sustain the readers' interests in the small things Lenin, the young son of communist schemer K N M Pillai, for instance, is described as `dressed like a taxi' because of his yellow shirt and black pants. Arundhati Roy's super sensitive antenna catches all the tiny details of her landscape -- and the thick, wet Kerala countryside has plenty to offer. The `farting slush' does not escape her, nor does the `funnel cap' created by mosquitoes over people's heads. It is not the story element of The God of Small Things that is its strong point, but the language. The language characterised by a strange cadence -- plenty of capitals, joined words and phrases,

An Amazing Book

"May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month," and so is Arundhati Roy's novel The God of Small Things. Imagine a cold piece of butter slowly melting in a frying pan, setting the scene for the cooking to come, and you can see the way Roy's prose works. Words that are hot and brooding reel you into an intricate web of family politics and social mores, evoking a feeling similar to a written stream of consciencness. Roy writes in layers, except that the layers are both added and taken off; I was reminded of my childhood when I would eat wafer chocolates from the bottom and the top, leaving the middle until last, because that was the best part. Roy kindly dispells the, often torturous, anxiety of what happens in the end early on in the book. The reader is told what happened before it happened, what happened after it happened, and saves what happened for last. A format that seemingly would put off a reader becomes its most appreciated quality. This book is for everyone; murder mystery, love story, epic saga all in one. Even if you're not the romantic type, the social scrutiny of Indian customs provides for interesting reading. However, if you're interested in brain candy, forget it. There is too much to absorb. Emotion and intellect are needed in order to understand the emotion and intellect that are related. You could take in only what is superficially presented, as the plot alone is worthwhile, but you would be missing so much. Rahel, a dizygotic twin returns to the place of her childhood and subesequently a place of unhappiness to see her brother, the other twin, after more than twenty years of separation. Esta, the brother, has stopped talking, and Rahel has stopped feeling. Their reunion allows for the remembrance and grieving of their disasterous youths. They recall small things, seemingly unimportant, yet vital to the reconstruction of their sense of inner peace. They are the same age as their mother when she died, thirty-one. Their house is run down and the only relatives left from the monster in their pasts are, in essence, only waiting to die. Entering their minds through an omniscient voice, we are transported back and forth in time, remembering small things, painting a big picture. We remember a cousin's accidental death, and the death of another who served as a scapegoat. We remember how fate can make the strangest families. We also remember Rahel and Esta, and how they "broke the love laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much." While the novel serves to shock the reader from time to time, the pace is slow. Roy's style would be described as somewhat verbose for the impatient, yet serves to parallel the way we deal with emotions, hurt, and love in life. Creating a paradox however, this reader went back to re-absorb certain elements of beauty or truth, due to a lack of time created by an impatience to find out what happens next. Although usually overly critical of fiction, I w
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