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Monday, 12 January 2015

Book Review : The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Pages :  321

Read on : Paperback

Review: I had picked up this book years ago, read it halfway through and oddly abandoned it soon after. Foolish of me to do so as this is a well-praised contribution to Indian Literature. 
For once, I am struggling to describe what reading this book felt like. It wasn't happy. It wasn't entirely sad or depressing. I'd call it sharp, witty and then tragic.

Roy manages to pen down Kerala exactly as it is,oil-slicked, green and lush, rivers and meen (fish). Her style of storytelling is clever. She introduces you to the characters' mind and their thought, she narrates with their essence and soul and only later does she slowly, page by page, reveal their secrets.  For the most part, the book jumps perspective from Rahel to Estha, the twin protagonists in the book, with subsequent external narration. This may be a tad bid confusing initially, since the first few chapters don't state the exact order of events.  

The main premise of this book are the Love Laws. Who can be loved, how to be loved, how much to love and other dimensions of love which are either questioned, violated or simply explored. However, what is stark is the consequence of this innocent exploration, something that warps their lives forever and has successfully pigmented my brain. It would sting the reader even more after a good amount of time is spent knowing that the twins were really one soul placed in two bodies. (Not trying to be creepy, I swear!).

True to life, when the small things in life begin to shift, normalcy disrupts. Roy's characters aren't happy people. They aren't characters one would like because we are given so much access to their minds that you know their demons can no longer be hidden under the bed. 

On reading The God of Small Things, I couldn't ignore the constant comparison to Salman Rushdie's style of storytelling that kept popping up in my mind. Both authors have a tendency to pace and leak the truth/mystery/revelation by first introducing the current scenario, jumping to pivotal incidents and then starting with the prefix of the eventual catastrophe.

Nonetheless, this did not diminish my love for The God of Small Things. I do understand it may not be a read loved by all but that wouldn't stop me from recommending it. 

Final Rating : 5/5

خُدا حافِظ


  1. Haven't got the chance to read any book of Arundhati Roy. Seems like this one can be tried - thanks to your post Mehreen :)

    1. Thank you for reading! Fair warning : Not everyone has liked this book but I believe it is best judged individual. Do tell me how you find it. Would love to hear you're views :)

  2. I'm more of a masala reader and now I won't reallly check this one out since you have told me it's tragic ... Life is tragic enough without reading sadness.. :D But well written review. Thankyou for the headsup :D My website -

    1. Haha I agree with you there! It did put me into a lull post completion.
      Thank you for reading. Will head to your website right now :)