The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things

“When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.”

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is painstakingly beautiful work of art and it won the Booker Prize in 1997. Set in a village named Aymanam in Kerala, India, it tells the story of multigenerational family of the fraternal twins and how one mishap leads to catastrophic disorders and ruined so many lives.

Told in non-sequential narrative, the twins, Estha and Rahel, are the focal of the story. After their mother left her husband, they returned to her parents’ home where they have family pickle factory. Their uncle’s ex wife and daughter visit them for Christmas holidays and hoping to get wonderful time with the family. However, unfortunate things await in their way to wreck their family forever.

Through her tactile storytelling, Roy points out the caste system in India and its discriminative actions against different classes. She tells the misogyny and domestic abuses as well as the political movement in her book. She plays with the words and phrases to depict the loss of innocence, love, and loyalty. She painfully portrays how an exuberant childhood transformed into a sombre adolescent. She craftily tells how a small thing, though it may seem insignificant to matter, could have disastrous impact on life when it collides with other small things.

Going to and fro between different timeframes, it was somewhat dizzying for me personally and hard to comprehend to the first third of the story. The complexity is also found in Roy’s descriptive writing, and it causes a little nuisance to me, too. Nonetheless, it was a harrowing read with one of the most aesthetically pleasing proses.


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