Book Review: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Books are of two kinds. Ones that move you and ones that don’t. Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things leaves you not just moved, but also aching with desire.

Always having considered myself a voracious reader, I have come to be very picky and opinionated about the books I like and the ones I don’t. I am even pickier about the books I write about. Perhaps, it is also an outcome of laziness for I just won’t write about a book, unless the book moves me inside out. This is one such book.

I have never been to Kerala and in my mind, I only ever knew it from tourism advertisements showing beautiful backwaters, serene beaches, luxurious resorts and tall coconut trees. This book took me to a Kerala I did not know before. I was taken on a journey of love and loss that left me broken for I wished for a better ending for the characters I had grown to love in the short week that I read this book.

Roy’s style of writing is gripping to say the least. In William Darlymple’s words, “it appeals equally to the head and the heart.” Set in the small town of Ayemenem, sometime in 1969 and 1993, it tells a sad story of physically fraternal twins who were emotionally Siamese twins knowing each other as they knew themselves. With them, we meet an eclectic mix of family, friends and enemies- people whose actions would go on to affect the twins so much that their destinies end up in tragedy that is heart breaking from the human aspect, beautifully complex at the same time. The shifting timeline of the narrative only adds to this complexity Some characters you grow to hate, others you love while others still, you become indifferent to.

This book also left me bewildered as to why it took me so long to finally get the book and sit myself to read it when I had already heard so much about it. To anybody looking for a good book to read and not having read this one, buy, beg, steal or borrow- this is one book that is worth reading. (Believe me, for this comes from one who procrastinated getting it for so long only to regret that I hadn’t read it earlier.)

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