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The God of Small Things: A Novel Paperback – Jun 1 1998
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In her first novel, award-winning Indian screenwriter Arundhati Roy conjures a whoosh of wordplay that rises from the pages like a brilliant jazz improvisation. The God of Small Things is nominally the story of young twins Rahel and Estha and the rest of their family, but the book feels like a million stories spinning out indefinitely; it is the product of a genius child-mind that takes everything in and transforms it in an alchemy of poetry. The God of Small Things is at once exotic and familiar to the Western reader, written in an English that's completely new and invigorated by the Asian Indian influences of culture and language. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
With sensuous prose, a dreamlike style infused with breathtakingly beautiful images and keen insight into human nature, Roy's debut novel charts fresh territory in the genre of magical, prismatic literature. Set in Kerala, India, during the late 1960s when Communism rattled the age-old caste system, the story 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 suspenseful narrative, Roy reveals the family tensions that led to the twins' behavior on the fateful night that Sophie drowned. Beneath the drama of a family tragedy lies a background of local politics, social taboos and the tide of history?all of which come together in a slip of fate, after which a family is irreparably shattered. Roy captures the children's candid observations but clouded understanding of adults' complex emotional lives. Rahel notices that "at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. The Big Things lurk unsaid inside." Plangent with a sad wisdom, the children's view is never oversimplified, and the adult characters reveal their frailties?and in one case, a repulsively evil power?in subtle and complex ways. While Roy's powers of description are formidable, she sometimes succumbs to overwriting, forcing every minute detail to symbolize something bigger, and the pace of the story slows. But these lapses are few, and her powers coalesce magnificently in the book's second half. Roy's clarity of vision is remarkable, her voice original, her story beautifully constructed and masterfully told. First serial to Granta; foreign rights sold in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Holland, India, Greece, Canada and the U.K.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
This fascinating novel that is set in India in the late 60s begins with the funeral of a cousin of the novel's narrator. Rahelas she is called shares with her twin brother Estha share family secrets that are masterfully presented to the reader in this gripping, suspenseful and revealing prose that is told from the point of a child. Rich in characters and an amazing plot, The God of Small Things takes you into the fascinating setting of India , its politics, rich culture , unique social and caste system, numerous taboos, and its turbulent rich which all have an influence on the characters of the story. A highly recommended read:
Also recommended: DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE, NAMESAKE,THE KITE RUNNER, THE USURPER AND OTHER STORIES
I find it incredibly textured. The little word games that the characters play remind me so much of my own youth.
I grew up in India, though not in the locale that Roy's book features, and I remeber my childhood games mirroring those that Rahel and Estha play... nictitating, ictitating, titating, etc"
I felt every character in the book, whether I loved them or hated them. The sense of little pleasures and ultimate hopelessness that the tale embodies is incredible and feels disturbingly like truth. The nice thing about it is that although it's a sad story, you don't end it bitterly. Roy picked the perfect scene to end the book with. Had she chosen any other, I think I'd have been too disturbed to ever want to read it again.
To me, it is one of the great stories.... one that does not trick you with a surprise ending. It is one that you can enter at any point and inhabit comfortably; as familiar as the scent of your lover's skin.
Because, in the great stories, we already know what happens;who lives and who dies, who finds love and who doesn't; but we want to know again.. just as although we know that one day we will die, we live as though we won't.
If you like texture and description in writing, starve for two days if you have to, but have a pretty copy of this book.
I've actually got two copies: one hardbound and one paperback which I keep for my own use, and a separate copy for the sole purpose of lending out to friends that I think will appreciate it.
The story jumps from Rahel's perspective to Estha's, as well as their uncle and mother and grandaunt, from their childhood to their adulthood and back again. They are both raised by their mother, then they are separated Estha is sent to live with their father for years before he comes back.
They have a half-Caucasian cousin named Sophie Mol who visits them from London. During her initial and brief encounter with her cousins, tragedy befalls.
All of these events seem to mark the twins as they move forward in life, trying to understand those --- especially the adults ---around them. The twins' childhood viewpoints are like any other child's as they try to figure out if their parents really love them, and their confusion is like any other child's as they discover they can never really know that answer.
Most recent customer reviews
This masterful book combines gorgeous writing with a brilliant plot. I felt compelled to read it again as soon as i finished it, just to try to soak up the words. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is quite possibly the best book I've ever read. It's hilarious, heart-warming, sad and insightful. Cannot recommend it highly enough!Published 11 months ago by Lisbeth Helgesen
Amazing book. I couldn't put it down. Love the writing style.Published 11 months ago by A. K. Hastie
Despite knowing the shipping time was between 3-4 weeks, it still felt like a long time for a product to arrive. Read morePublished on June 4 2011 by CHRISMCKIM