Length: 368 pages
About: Keralan twin children's family struggles
Style: 3rd person
Where:England (Oxford) and India (Kerala)
When: 1960s and 1990s
Set in Kerala in the 1960s, The God of Small Things is about two children, 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.
It didn't matter that the story had begun, because Kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the 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.
There is no single tragedy at the heart of Arundhati Roy's devastating first novel. Although ''The God of Small Things'' opens with memories of a family grieving around a drowned child's coffin,
there are plenty of other intimate horrors still to come, and they compete for the reader's sympathy with the furious energy of cats in a sack. Yet the quality of Ms. Roy's narration is so
extraordinary -- at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple -- that the reader remains enthralled all the way through to its agonizing finish.
The New York Times, Alice Truax, 25th May 1997 for full review click here
Not so good:
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.
Publishers Weekly, 3rd January 1997 for full review click here
About the author
Arundhati Roy was born in 1961 in Kerala. She won the Booker Prize in 1997 for her first novel The God of Small Things. Roy is a well known peace activist and she was awarded the Sydney Peace
Prize in May, 2004, for her work in social campaigns and advocacy of non-violence. She lives in Delhi.