The God of Small Things: Booker Prize Winner 1997 Paperback – 5 Apr 2002
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Have to come in terms with the fact that Only those with childhood still in them, would enjoy this book. How can such a beautiful language even exist?- That was my initial reaction to this. Ms. Roy demands such strong emotion from her readers that it makes you really wonder if you were an invisible being lingering around when the lives of the characters unfold in front of you. It literally serenades you, making you believe that these characters, really, yes, do exist. However, it your imagination that tells you that they are real. i wish she wrote more fiction. touching more lives with each of her words. This book has made me imagine, cry, ponder, chuckle, frown brought in goosebumps and contemplate in many ways like no book has ever done before. Vividly. Unashamed. The best part being that you imagine the characters living in front of you. To get hold of that small part is another thing. True, childhood lives only if you water it through your life. --Gayatri Nair on Jun 17, 2013
This book is the best pick for a broad and open minded person.. Tells you how "Love" is always associated with sadness, how women are made scape goats for everything that happens, how a person's childhood experiences affect his/her perspectives and whole life.. The book has less to tell and lot to infer. So unleash ur minds open and then start reading the book... --Krithika Jayaraaman on Feb 17, 2012
Arundhati is a poetess, an artist who spins munificence with the ordinary. Her story - a part biography is like fine music to even an untrained ear. She's one writer that I admire mostly because her words tell us a story in visuals. You feel the pain, the struggle, the sly humor and the God she cherishes in small things... --Aakarsh Yardi on Jun 10, 2012
About the Author
About the Author: Arundhati Roy was born on 1961 in Kerela. A well celebrated author in her own right, she won The Booker Prize for her famed book, 'The God of Small Things' in 1997. Besides being an author, Arundhati Roy is a well known peace activist and was awarded the Sydney Peace Prize in May 2004 for her work in social campaigns. She is also an extremely vocal advocate of non-violence.
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Arundhati Roy has tried to express everything, practically everything in her novel, by comparing it with something else. Too much of expressing and comparing has destroyed the higher and subtler aspect of the novel. This novel is nothing more than the best attempt of the author to make the novel difficult for the simpler minds. May be the desire for a prize was in the first priority. It is very difficult to read and very confusing. And there is zero philosophy and defeated comedy. Many say that it has a good comedy. May be, but all the good aspects of this novel have been destroyed by unnecessary comparison, passionate uncontrolled expression of incidents, people, characters and other things.
Terrific story of Ammu, her struggle, her two egg unidentical twins (a boy and a girl), her love and loss, dreams, hopes, a little happiness here and a lot of sadness there. What I loved about the book is the flow, the way it keeps coming back to the present and going back (mostly) to the flashback as how it all happened and twins get separated (and why?) makes up for a mind-blowing read. The best part of the story is the detailing and I was totally mesmerized by the way she had not only written the characters and their nuances but even the background of where it all was happening was so damn amazing, colorful and real that almost throughout I could see it all happening right in front of my eyes. If you have read any of "Gabriel Garcia Marquez" book and have gone on a surreal journey that he takes us, Ms Ray has done almost the same magic with her book. Alas! to our shock, surprise and amazement she was a one book wonder (as of recently).
It's already 48 hrs since I am done with the book but its memory is still haunting me so much (in a good way) that even after picking up an Agatha Christie as my next, I have just put the bookmark on first page and not able to start it. Memory of Ammu (for some reason I keep seeing Smita Patil's face) and her two inseparable fatherless kids (not so beautiful with no special features) who are in awe (read love) with an untouchable guy called Velutha (imagine Makarand Deshpande with specs, topless, wearing a mundu folded well above his knees knotted at waist) with a body shining with sweat and sticking saw dust overall, always smiling to look after the kids teaching them a trick or two here and there. As I said Ms. Ray's detailing is so in-depth that she has created real life characters who refuse to go off my mind, I could actually see their expressions, feel their pain(s), see the amount of sweat making their cloths go darker like the way a red shirt goes maroon with sweat all over it. The way they talk, walk, their eyes shine with little happiness although they very well know that there is no future and all they have is a hope of a tomorrow, beyond that they just do not think. If you have ever loved a love story, I guess this will supersede it manifolds, I haven't read a more beautiful love story than this one. If you don't believe me, I will recommend you pick up the book and just read the last ten pages, it doesn't work like a spoiler even if you jump straight, what beauty. And this has the best ever love making scene in the history of my book reading, NEVER I have read anything which comes any closer to this one's sensuality, simplicity and never feels out of place, its simply mind-blowingly beautiful, which not even made me smile, or made a big lump in my throat, it made me highly emotional as I knew what was coming next but still it was terrific. Take a bow Ms. Roy, you made me a fan of yours. I am definitely reading this book again and I guess will make it a yearly practice now :) the ending is so inspiring.
If you have read it, I am sure a lot of you must have, do tell me if how you like it and if you haven't, I will say its a must must read for all. It is another piece of literature from our part of the world which is timeless as of now as nothing much has changed in the last two decades of it being written, I am sure you will agree with me on that. I totally loved it. With that I believe now I will go to her next book which came out recently with certainly very high hopes and wish that it works for me exactly like the way this one did.
Things that I liked:
– Wonderful language which, despite being a tad flowery sometimes, is quite lucid
– Deep characterization with back stories for all characters
– Wonderful descriptions of environment, ambiance, etc. throughout the book
– Description of Chacko’s love story (short yet extremely well written)
– Masterful way of keeping the mystery of Sophie Mol’s death and Ammu’s back story till the end (revealing only bits and pieces in between). However, the end was quite predictable (the drowning part in the river while crossing the river). I thought something interesting might have happened which resulted in that happening.
Things that I hated:
– Despicable, disturbing, sudden, nauseating appearances of sensual scenes which are quite unnecessary (e.g. Orange drink Lemon drink incident, ugh!, and Rahel and Estha having sex in the final chapter, very difficult to digest)
– Unnecessary descriptions of Kathakali dancers, TV episodes which characters are watching, bathroom habits of people, different insects, birds in the surroundings (one or two is fine but not 5-10 in a single paragraph)
– The innumerable time shifts. Can’t understand whether the characters are still young or old. Extremely confusing.
– Excessive capitalization of words without any purpose. Too many broken sentences and self-constructed words.
– The main plot (love between Ammu and Velutha) is not described till the last few pages (which somewhat redeem the book). However, the nauseating sexual parts present in that part are difficult to digest again. To be fair, even Chetan Bhagat and other Indian authors don’t describe sensual scenes in so explicit detail. Despite that, they’re criticized of inserting too many such scenes. I’m in support of them in this thing.
– The reason why Ammu decided to take such a huge risk of persisting with the lust affair with Velutha is still unknown. All characters are so irritating (Ammu, Rahel, Estha, Sophie Mol, everybody) that you don’t feel for them, even for Ammu.
– Forced attempt at humor. Some sarcastic elements were good, though.
– Estha, he lived in a cara-van (Dum-dum). This (Popeye the sailor inspired) sentence when placed at sensitive portions where you somehow feel a trifle of pity for him is dreadfully irritating. Why would you forcibly put comedy in an emotional scene; it really dilutes the experience. The something shaped holes in the universe style is also repeated too much. Throughout the book it seems like Arundhati Roy is hell bent of impressing the readers with her language skills rather than indulging them in the story.
– There are some more things which I can’t remember.
Ultimately, I really didn’t enjoy reading the novel. Some parts were brilliant, but the overall effect was unsatisfactory.
I’m just a debut, struggling author (and an amateur reader); it really doesn’t make a difference but it’s 2.75 stars for the Booker Prize winner from my side. Sorry.
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