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Sapna Anu B. George

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The God of Small things-By Arundhathi Roy
by Sapna Anu B. George   

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Publisher:  Harpercollins ISBN-10:  0826453279 Type: 



Arundhathi Roy

(the God of Small Things) "… is not just about small things, it's about how the smallest things connect to the biggest things - that's the important thing. And that's what writing will always be about for me… I'm not a crusader in any sense"(Roy as quoted in Kingsnorth).

"I think fiction for me has always been a way of trying to make sense of the world as I know it." Arundhati Roy

Her novel, The God of Small Things, has been described as 'remarkable for its quality of innocence and originality'. It is a playful book, full of poetry and wisdom. Arundhati Roy says herself that "it isn't a book about India... It is a book about human nature."

Set in kerala in the 1960s, The God of Small Things is about two children, the two egg twins, Estha and Rahel, and the shocking consequences of a pivotal event in their young lives, the accidental death-by-drowning of a visiting English cousin. In magical and poetic language, the novel paints a vivid picture of life in a small rural Indian town, the thoughts and feelings of the two small children, and the complexity and hypocrisy of the adults in their world. It is also a poignant lesson in the destructive power of the caste system, and moral and political bigotry in general. The novel has become an international best-seller, and in October 1997 won the coveted Booker Prize.
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.

Professional Reviews

A reader
A reader
This is the third of these guides that I have read, and they have all been very good so far. (The other two were about The Poisonwood Bible and The Shipping News.)This one follows the same basic idea. There is a chapter about the author, which is very interesting about Roy's upbringing and political background. And then there is a bigger chapter which looks at the book itself. It's intelligent without being difficult to read, and it's clear without being patronising or dumbed-down. This is a long way away from the Cliffs Notes I used to use back in school! But my favourite chapters in each of these books that I've read so far are the ones about the reviews that the novels got when they were published. It is just fascinating to see how the literary establishment reacted to this novel when it first appeared, and how some people picked up on the resonance of it immediately, and others seemed to miss the point. Anyway, I enjoyed this book very much, and I learned quite a lot about Indian literature in the process.
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.

David Godwin
David Godwin
David Godwin is a literary agent based in London, with a keen eye for quality and commonwealth literature (whatever these things are). Budding authors can write to him at 55 Monmouth Street, London WC2H 9DG, UK. Their website is at

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