The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is, very simply, a literary masterpiece.

It explores the everyday drama that occurs within domestic life and the bitter reality that comes with the loss of childhood innocence.

Divorced Ammu and her fraternal twins, Estha and Rahael, live as outcasts of a dysfunctional family headed by Matriarch  Mammachi, her Anglophile son Chako and resentful aunt Baby Kochamma.   

Prisoners to their fate, life is bleak for Ammu and the twins, who have little option for freedom  in society where status and caste rules.

Further adding turbulence is Velutha (a Dalit or Outcaste), who captures the heart of Ammu’s  twins, and as we learn later, is Ammu’s lover.

Set against the exotic landscape of Kerala in India’s South, the novel brings to life a culture  where secrets are valued more than truth.  And societal hierarchy remains at the forefront of  most people’s lives.

Besides the plot, Roy’s novel is regarded as one of the best literary pieces of the last century  (winning the Booker Prize in 1997) because of its fresh use of language. Although the novel  may require you to sit down with it more than once, it offers some of the best prose you’ll ever  read.

“It could be argued that it began long before Christianity arrived in a boat and seeped into Kerela like tea from a teabag. That it really began in the days when the Love Laws were made. The laws that lay down who sould be loved, and how. And how much.” p.33

Score: 5/5

 

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