The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition
Publishing Date: 16 December 2008
Genre: Psychological Fiction
Cost: Rs. 450 (Paperback), Rs.99 (Kindle Edition)
Compared favourably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama.
The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably 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.
The story is set in the village of Ayemenem in the Kottayam district of Kerala, India. The main part of the plot takes place in 1969, a time of changes in ideology and influence. India is a very complex society with various cultural and religious habits and beliefs. Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians, and Muslims share the same space. Society is divided not only by the very strict caste system but also by class consciousness.
Through ‘The god of small things’, she explores themes like Indian history and politics, Caste relations and cultural tensions, forbidden love, social discrimination, betrayal, misogyny and women in India. The book explores how the small things affect people's behaviour and their lives.
The masterful prose when combined with the tale results into 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 that are- tragic tale of twins separated, a woman denied love because he belongs to another untouchable caste, and other characters pining for a life.
The God of Small Things is not written in a sequential narrative style in which events unfold chronologically. Instead, the novel is a patchwork of flashbacks and lengthy side-tracks. Roy often uses metaphors that feature elements that are more prominent in the lives of children, such as toothpaste, secrets, or portable pianos. They place significance on words and ideas differently from the adults, thereby creating a new way of viewing the world around them.
Milestones of the Book:
- Booker Prize in 1997
- The band ‘Darlingside’ credits the novel as the inspiration for their song "The God of Loss"
About the Author:
Arundhati Roy is an Indian writer who is also an activist who focuses on issues related to social justice and economic inequality. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her novel, The God of Small Things, and has also written two screenplays and several collections of essays.
For her work as an activist, she received the Cultural Freedom Prize awarded by the Lannan Foundation in 2002.