I’m reading this book for two challenges. Book Awards II and Orbis Terrarum.
The God of Small Things won the Man Booker Prize in 1997.
Here’s the blurb:
The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, a skyblue Plymouth with chrome tailfins is stranded on the highway amid Marxist worker‘ demonstration. Inside the car sit two-egg twins Rahel and Esthappen, and so begins their tale…Here’s another example on how a book can sweep you right in and keep you captive. I started reading this book around 10:30pm, and I couldn’t put it down until 3:00am, and even then my husband “forced” me to it. And the first thing I did after I got the kids busy doing there thing, was finish it.
Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, they fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family - their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu (who loves by night the man her children love by day), their blind grandmother, Mamma chi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent greataunt), and the ghost of an imperial entomologist‘s moth (with unusually dense dorsal tufts).
When their English cousin, Sophie Mol, and her mother, Margaret Kochamma, arrive on a Christmas visit, Esthappen and Rahel learn that Things Can Change in a Day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever, beside their river “greygreen. With fish in it. With sky and trees in it. And at night, the broken yellow moon in it.
The brilliantly plotted story uncoils with an agonizing sense of foreboding and inevitability. Yet nothing prepares you for what lies at the heart of it.
I loved the story. It’s a story of love, jealousy, madness, hope and joy. It’s the story of how the smallest things can cause great loss and pain.
The twins have a good life, they have a special relationship. They love their mother and are concerned about her. They meet their cousin Sophie for the first time, they are in awe of her. Then something happens to Ammu, which causes her pain, they ask her if they can help, she lashes out at them, accusing them of ruining her life. And thats when everything starts to unravel. One simple act leads to tragedy.
The characters were wonderful. I loved Ammu, she wants to be loved and wanted. She loves her children, but somehow that doesn’t seem enough. Then there’s Baby Kochamma, who once was in love with a priest, and followed him, became a nun, and now is a bitter, unfeeling woman. And the twins, as children they feel each other emotions, and as adults they are so apart that they commit such a taboo act for that closeness.
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (4/5) General Fiction; Published: Random House (1997); Man Booker Prize Winner (1997); 100 + Reading Challenge (53); Orbis Terrarum Challenge (4); Book Awards II Challenge (2); Keeper shelf;