A Book Review – The God Of Small Things – By Arundhati Roy
Recently I was listening to an interview with the author Preeti Shenoy on BBC. When she was asked about fictional novels she stated that there are two kinds of fiction; one that wins a number of literary awards and the other that ends up being a No 1 bestseller. Arundhati Roy’s “God of small things” combines both.
The language used is quite posh, sophisticated and sometimes very poignant and poetic which allows one to classify it as literary fiction. The story moves a bit slowly at first and I found myself making excuses to put the book down and take a break quite often. But at some point, as the narrative picked pace, I got absorbed in the unfolding tale. The story is based in a village in Kerala near Kochi where I live.
The characters are quite intriguing. The book centres on the tragic tale of a woman who makes her own choice of a life partner and then finds that he is willing to sell her for certain benefits. She leaves him in despair and returns to her ancestral home in Kerala with her two children. Soon she has to send her son back to her husband due to unavoidable circumstances. The manipulative character of her aunt and other relatives and the trauma faced by her two children are brought out vividly.
She falls in love with a man of a lower caste in a conservative Malayali society and they enjoy the pleasures of sex secretly. The book has humour, wit, stylish narrative and several other characteristics of a good fictional novel. It also brings out the hollowness of a society which promises to be classless but does not walk the talk. The story is brought out bit by bit and it really makes us feel horrified by the abhorrent depths of cruelty and depravity our society can stoop to.
On the whole, the book is worth a read. Only thing is you should have the patience to stick to your guns and keep reading till you get involved in the narrative. I am going with a 4 out of 5 for Arundhati Roy’s “God of small things.” Please do give it a try.