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It is 1969 and India although having achieved independence twenty years earlier is still mired in its caste system In this light, Arundhati Roy brings us her masterful first novel The G D of Small Things which won the Man Booker Prize in 1997 A powerful novel filled with luscious prose and a heart rending story, Roy reveals to her readers an India hanging onto to the traditions of the past with a slight glimpse of her future Ammukutty Kochamma, the daughter of a respected entomologist and classical violin player, desired an education rather than an arranged marriage Her family belonged to the Touchable caste and, while tolerable of others, desired that their daughter married someone from a family like theirs Ammu met a Bengali and married for love He turned out to be an alcoholic and they divorced within two years, although not before giving birth to fraternal twins Estahappen Esta a boy and Rahel a girl Ammu retreats with her children to the family estate, doomed to live a miserable life as an outcast Even though Ammu raises Esta and Rahel to be brilliant children, the rest of the family resents their presence at the home in Ayemenem Her father has died and her mother, although a presence, is blind The new head of the family is her brother Chacko, a former Rhodes Scholar and current member of the communist party Although he attempts to be a father to the twins, his pseudo love pines for his biological daughter Sophie Mol who lives in England While Chacko tolerates the family, Ammu s aunt Baby Kochamma spews nothing but venom at Ammu and her children for the rest of her life Failed at both becoming a nun and winning over her true love in life, Baby Kochamma desires nothing than to make all those around her miserable, but especially her divorced niece Ammu and two bastard children Roy merited the Booker prize for her story alone as it featured forbidden love within the caste system and memorable, multi layered characters Yet, what most likely won Roy this award was her masterful prose, which, when combined with her tale, results in an instant classic Switching from current time to flashbacks, speaking backwards in twin language, and detailed descriptions of Indian life are only a few of the facets contributing to this tale Adding to the prose the tragic tale of twins separated, a woman denied love because he belongs to another untouchable caste, and other characters pining for a life that might have been, Roy has woven together a true gem Recently I joined the year of reading women of color challenge, which lead me to read novels by female authors around the globe who I would not have considered otherwise Arundhati Roy is a gifted storyteller and film writer, whose work should not be missed Her second novel The Ministry of Upmost Happiness is due out in July 2017 If it is nearly as masterful as The G D of Small Things, it is a novel that should not be missed A luscious, complex novel worthy of its awards, The G D of Small Things merits 5 sparkling stars. Compared Favorably To The Works Of Faulkner And Dickens, Arundhati Roy S Debut Novel Is A Modern Classic That Has Been Read And Loved Worldwide Equal Parts Powerful Family Saga, Forbidden Love Story, And Piercing Political Drama, It Is The Story Of An Affluent Indian Family Forever Changed By One Fateful Day In The Seven Year Old Twins Estha And Rahel See Their World Shaken Irrevokably By The Arrival Of Their Beautiful Young Cousin, Sophie It Is An Event That Will Lead To An Illicit Liaison And Tragedies Accidental And Intentional, Exposing Big Things That Lurk Unsaid In A Country Drifting Dangerously Toward Unrest Lush, Lyrical, And Unnerving, The God Of Small Things Is An Award Winning Landmark That Started For Its Author An Esteemed Career Of Fiction And Political Commentary That Continues Unabated Please excuse me while I go sit in this corner and be dreadfully underwhelmed The God of Small Things won the Booker Prize in 1997, and I d heard very good things about it And yet I really didn t like it It s not a bad book far from it The characters she has created are really wonderful, and she has succeeded in evoking all the noises and sights and smells of Kerala, even for someone like me who s never been further east than Poland The narrative structure is disjointed, wandering from the now to 1969 and back again, but I never found myself getting confused by it.The language use is inventive and creative and original there were times when I found myself pausing to read back over a particular metaphor or simile because it was just that beautiful or thought provoking But the further I read into the book, the strained the language seemed It seems to be teetering and from the wonderfully ornate to a kind of thing that reminds me of Victorian architecture all curlicues and flourishes and bilious cherubs and buildings that look like gigantic, overdone wedding cakes It s too much all at once, overwhelming the eye and leaving me feeling faintly sea sick.I don t like the tone she takes in parts of it, either especially when she s talking about human nature or history or the caste system Not that I don t agree with a lot of what she says I do but she s too didactic I think it s her tendency to put every line in a new paragraph in these sections A subtle hand will always serve you better, I think. As I stand just outside the compound with the untended garden an uninvited, random visitor the darkened Ayemenem House resembles a haunted mansion, belying the truth of the lives it once nurtured with maternal protectiveness in its cozy interiors Derelict Abandoned Forgotten.But I remember I remember the lives lived, and the loves which were birthed by circumstances, loves which breathed for a while before perishing on the altar of conformity I remember Chacko and Sophie Mol Ammu and Velutha Rahel and Estha And, most of all, I remember You You, the painter of this portrait of a family s downward spiral into oblivion You, the creator of this life sized painting of a city and a nation, and all of human civilization in turn.I see You as an iconoclast, persistent in your demand for liberties we are too submissive to dream of acquiring You ask for things so heedlessly, so powerfully The right to love whom we want and how much we want The right to be equal The right not to be discriminated against The right not to be left languishing in solitude, battling painful memories The right not to lose, at any cost, one s faith in the goodness in human beings.You are the rebel we never considered becoming We do not have courage like yours you see Your opinions aired on national television are so often misinterpreted Deliberately Craftily The sun inside of You that refuses to be subdued by the drear of political machinations, by the evil lurking in the human heart, by the sham ofdevelopmentperpetrated under the helpful charade of nonexistent liberty, equality, fraternity, by every one sayingNo no no, you ask for too much The world cannot ever be a fair place , sent a little light my way.That light gives me hope Your Small God gives me hope.He augurs that the overlooked small, mundane cruelties will only snowball into a tragedy of life altering proportions later on, a gigantic boulder hurtling down the slope of a mountain crushing everything in its path into an unrecognizable gory pulp of flesh and blood Small God s wrath will eventually consume Big God s apathy and reduce it to mere cinders.I hope your Small God is right.You speak the esoteric language of children, whose inner worlds are but their own, beyond the reach of the sharpened claws of the Love Laws worlds which are free and infinite, where fables, dreams and terrifying realities churn into a nonsensical lovely mass, worlds not tethered to earthly considerations The two egg twins interlinked worlds, which stubbornly rejected the continued tyranny of the cycle of injustices perpetuated outside, were the same.Their combined muteness throbbed with the dull ache of longing, loss and irreparable damage Their collective passivity stood out as a blistering denouncement of humanity always coming second to zealously preserved blind prejudices And You spoke through Rahel and Estha s silence which rung much louder than a giant church bell chiming away nearby.We stew in our own insecurities and the irrelevance of small personal outrages, unable to take a step forward, helpless captives in the iron grip of the status quo of the world While You, Ms Roy, take up your pen and fearlessly hail The God of Human Dignity, Empathy and Love The God of Small Things.So in this space, I thank that God for the Arundhati Roys of the world. Arundhati Roy image from Slate This is a wonderful, image rich novel told over several generations of a family in India The central event is the death of a young girl, and how racism, and petty, CYA politics, results in the death of an innocent for a crime that was never committed The central character is a girl woman, a twin, with an almost surreal connection to her other Their family life is told There is much here on Indian history, the caste system and how that continues to manifest in the modern world It won the Booker prize, and is very satisfying. This is, without a doubt, the single worst book ever written.It makes virtually no sense, jumping from past to present tense so often and without warning that you have no idea whats going on Out of nowhere the writer mentions filthy disturbing sexual things for no reason I could not even find a story in there, just meaningless jibberish The thing that amazes me most though, is that while i am yet to meet a single person that LIKES this book, it makes it onto all the top 100 lists etc I can only believe that this is because there is NO point to the book, but the reviewers and people that complile the book lists feel that no book can be written without reason and so they must be missing the point of it, and therefore rate the book very highly, so they seem as though they are incredibly intelligent and gained some sort of deep understanding from this book of garbage.End Rant. It didn t matter that the story had begun, because Kathkali discovered long ago that the secret of Great Stories is that they have no secrets The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably They don t deceive you with thrills and trick endings They don t surprise you with the unforeseen They are as familiar as the house you live in Or the smell of your lover s skin You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don t In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won t In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn t And yet you want to know again Arundhati Roy, The God of Small ThingsTiming is everything regarding books, and I have to say that the timing for this book was excellent as it came to me amid my own reflections of the past, my upbringing, and personal history This was one of the books I read at the right time and when you do read books at the right time they often hold meaning for you This is one of the books that had me hooked from the start Arundhati Roy is a brilliant storyteller and I fell in love with the structure, the content of this book, the humour, the cultural reflections This book was a reminder to me of how when I first started looking for diversity in literature, Indian literature was one of the first genres I sought and felt comfortable in despite the fact that it s not my culture I knew I could relate to the depictions of life in the tropics, life in a former British colony with Britishness being seen as central and something to strive towards as well like I d previously experienced was very much on my mind while reading this.I found this to be a very compelling, beautiful, sad book, with rich imagery The historical background was compelling I had little knowledge of the Kerala area which was the backdrop to twins Rahel and Estha s stories but Roy managed to make the story very compelling with her discussion of Indian social issues and the history of colonialism And it was not difficult to remember how history shapes us Memory was that woman on the train Insane in the way she sifted through dark things in a closet and emerged with the most unlikely ones a fleeting look, a feeling The smell of smoke A windscreen wiper A mother s marble eyes I liked the non linear storytelling and I am finding that that s true to life in many ways Remembrances often aren t linear, and with each chapter of the mystery is revealed and I find that to be an interesting metaphor in our own lives There was so much profoundness in this book, and short sentences that, despite their length, had me thinking in all sorts of directions, for example, Toy Histories for rich tourists to play in to depict history and rich cultural heritage being lost, and which reminds me of false histories.The wordplay, although it did get admittedly a bit repetitive, was also interesting, and I loved so much of the imagery, especially that of the moth The moth on Rahel s heart spread its velvet wings, and the chill crept into her bones Overall, an excellent and tragic book with unforgettable characters Definitely worth the read Both she and he knew that there are things that can be forgotten And things that cannot that sit on dusty shelves like stuffed birds with baleful, sideways staring eyes. That s what careless words do They make people love you a little less. Honestly, I wanted to like this one SO much but it was terrible. The novel follows a multi generational Indian family in 1969 The matriarch, Mammachi, is their abused and blind grandmother Ammu is the weary mother of fraternal twins, Esthappen and Rahel The twins favorite uncle, Chacko, brings his white wife over for Christmas, the twins immediately fall in love with their cousin only to realize just how quickly life can change And the air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said Big Things lurk unsaid inside. That good things become bad, in an instant This was the trouble with families Like invidious doctors, they knew just where it hurt. This book is one of theImportant Novels the ones that get talked about over and over about howSignificantand Essentialthey are for readingand much like manyImportant Novels , I just didn t enjoy it.Now, the last time I didn t like an Important Novel cough cough Animal Farm , I was besieged with comments about how I was too stupid to understand the novel I will maintain, at least in that novel s case, that getting it and liking it are two entirely separate things I didn t like Animal Farm PeriodHowever, for The God of Small Things, I honestly don t know if I didn t like it because it was bad or if I just didn t get itI couldn t follow a thingThe timeline was disjointed, often skipping ahead followed by flashbacks, so I felt disoriented and disgruntled much of the time The prose was overly complicated and tiresome to read I love beautiful language and elegant metaphors but this one had so much of both that it would sometimes take pages to figure out a single subtle point The characters felt like snapshots rather than fully fleshed out characters So much metaphor time, absolutely no character development And, in general, the plot was one giant grey mess Did something happen Was it significant Or was it just humans being garbage people to each other This seems to happen a lot with critically acclaimed books people love it, but without that badge or sticker of approval, I don t really think it would be so popular Ultimately, it s one very confused star Not a fan of this one DISCLAIMER I m a huge audiobook fan, so I picked up the audio version Maybe I shouldn t have I kept getting confused this novel to me was difficult to follow via audiobook, even when I repeated the beginning 3xs so perhaps if I had read it the book would ve felt less disjointed and I would have enjoyed it significantly.But I m not feeling up for a reread, so my review will stand as is Blog Instagram Twitter Lush, gorgeous prose reading The God of Small Things is like having your arms and legs tied to a slowly moving, possibly dying horse, and being dragged face down through the jungle I mean, like that, only nice You can t stop seeing and smelling everything, and it s all so foreign and rich Potentially ripe with e coli The similes and metaphors Roy employs are simultaneously tactile and surreal, like an overly vivid dream, and her storytelling style is somewhere between Joseph Conrad, Emily Dickinson, and Pilgrim s Progress if you actually read That Particular Gem Key sentences reappear a few chapters later multiple times throughout the book the main one, of course, being Everything can change in the course of a day And if you re going to repeat a sentence multiple times in a book, that s certainly not a bad one.The one thing that makes me hesitant to go all out with the five stars is the whole backwards plot development thing At least early on in the book, it struck me as a little gimmicky, especially since the end result is so dramatic Estha doesn t talk any Why doesn t Estha talk any Something must have happened to him When did it happen to him As a child, something very bad happened to him as a child You re probably wondering what that is now, right Well now let s talk about his aunt He s got a mom too This is what their garden is like Hey, remember Estha, that kid you re wondering about Yeah, something definitely happened to him as a kid Keep reading, suckers But I shouldn t say that, because, of course, it turns out you re not a sucker for reading this book, and the joke is on me for ever thinking so in the first place.