There is always that one book that penetrates your soul, touching the very edges of your existence. “The God of Small Things” revolves around two fraternal twins (Rahel and Estha – beautiful names, actually) and a tragedy that strikes their family. In all the events leading to it, and in the aftermath of it all, Arundhati Roy demonstrates that writing splendidly is not an easy task.
The account of childhood experiences of the twins, who suffer terribly after the incident, laced with racial friction and a dash of history, makes a fantastic read. The story is based in Ayemenem (Kerala, India) where the concept of the Touchables and Untouchables is still rampant, and this forms a rather interesting bit of the story.
“Nothing mattered much. Nothing much mattered. And the less it mattered, the less it mattered. It was never important enough. Because Worse Things had happened”.
“Perhaps it’s true that things can change in a day. That a few dozen hours can affect the outcome of whole lifetimes. And that when they do, those few dozen hours, like the salvaged remains of a burned house—the charred clock, the singed photograph, the scorched furniture—must be resurrected from the ruins and examined. Preserved. Accounted for. Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story.”
– Arundhati Roy, in “The God of Small Things”.
This book is best described as insurmountable and irreplaceable regarding the story line and the utter wit with which this is written. Roy possesses the sublime art of describing an event, a place, a person in ways unimaginable to the reader. The cover of the book itself is a good snapshot of what the book is smooth, damp, historical, and an epitome of love and grief.
In my humble opinion, if there is a reader out there who takes pride in the books they have read, their list is horrendously incomplete if this book isn’t in it.