Genres: Cultural, Historical Fiction
Main themes: Family, Love, Loss, Society
Rating: 4 stars
“‘Promise me you’ll always love each other,’ she’d say, as she drew her children to her. ‘Promise,’ Estha and Rahel would say. Not finding words with which to tell her that for them there was no Each, no Other.”
Jumping between 1969, and 1993, we see how a series of tragic events impacts an entire family. A prejudiced and blind grandmother, a bitter and poisonous great aunt, an elitist ‘Marxist’ uncle, an oppressed and loving mother, and a set of dizygotic twins for who “there was no Each, no Other”.
It’s not hard to imagine why Arundhati Roy’s unique style of writing has left a mark on the literary world. Within the first few pages of reading The God of Small Things, I was completely swept away by the unusual yet beautiful narrative. This is definitely one of the key ingredients which makes this book a masterpiece.
Initially, I was a bit confused about what was happening but this is one of those books where the reader is intentionally left in the dark and so naturally, as the plot develops things become a lot clearer. The way that Roy slowly unravelled the story was very clever… it’ll make you want to go back and read everything all over again! I also found that being introduced to so many members of the family was a lot to digest in the beginning (this might just be me as I unrealistically like to have a clear picture of each character the moment they’re introduced) but again as the story progresses, the characters’ identities become more prominent.
I really enjoyed learning more about Kerala; this book gave such a sincere portrayal of the South Indian state. The setting, culture, politics, it all played such key parts within the story and so this diversity was gladly welcomed.
To describe The God of Small Things, I would say that it’s a very emotional read, and so it’s not that hard to connect with the characters which is something I really like. However, this does mean that the tragedies really do sit heavy inside of you. There’s nothing more I hate than injustice, and the wrongs that had been committed against many of these characters was utterly heartbreaking. But despite this book being something which was outside of what I’d normally read, I’m so glad that I did give it a try. Reading this book no doubt filled me with an overwhelming sense of sadness, but the ending did provide some comfort, which I was thankful for! No matter what the Love Laws dictate; who you should love, how you should be loved… love is love and can’t be stopped. I can’t imagine that I’d ever forget these characters and their moving story.