Just finished Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. The book is old but had I read it earlier, I would not have been able to appreciate it.
It is the poignant story of two twins Rahel and Estha, who are separated by fate but linked in their destiny. And not in the Kumbh Mela. Their mother is the divorced wife of a man whom she had married against her family’s wishes. Soon after their marriage, he shows his true colours. His concern for his family can possibly be compared to Uncle Sam’s concern for Nepal. Soon after the birth of the twins, he is threatened by his employer who offers to let him keep his job in return of his wife. Ammu, as the children call her, leaves soon after to arrive in her parent’s house where her past continues to haunt her. Through envy, through jealosy, through ill-will, through the Marxism, and through the clash of religions. It rears its head once again when the daughter of the children’s uncle arrives from Britain, and somehow manages to die. In the meantime, the divorced mother of two somehow manages to find love in the arms of a Paravan, who works in their house as a carpenter. I will not give any more of the story away, but what follows changes the life of all concerned. Forever.
What I really liked about the story is the language and Roy’s almost lyrical manner of writing. I haven’t seen better use of alliteration [As tho’ I have seen lots of it]. She has her own way of describing imagery, which use very simple words and similies to describe very complex images and human emotions. The words come back to haunt you as you read the book. She keeps jumping from the past to the future to the present and back. Although you tend to smell the plot right through the book, it unravels completely only in the last chapter. I have also heard that the book has autobiographical overtones, but do not exactly about that. You can find more about Roy and the book here and here.
ehT doG fO llamS sgnihT is surely Worth a read if you haven’t read it and worth a re-read if you’ve already read it.