I’d read an interview of Arundhati Roy on her views of the Narmada dam, and remember that I’d been quite impressed at the time. So when I found her book on one of our shelves at home, I had to read it. This review is a little late since I actually read the book a few weeks ago.
The God of Small Things is a fine piece of work that addresses some extremely real issues faced in Indian Society. True to the author’s style, this book is open, honest, and disturbingly blunt. The only sugar coating is that it’s been written as a novel.
The story revolves around a well known family living in Kerala, India. And it centres on a single mother and her twins, Estha and Rahel. The characters, like the story are realistic and believable. I liked the story very much. It managed to rouse up a storm of emotions, including a certain degree of disgust. At the end of the book I found myself left with an indescribable mixture of sadness and anger. It made me want to beat up all the bad guys, both in the book and in real life.
The reader isn’t told the story, but actually shown it. And with each page you understand more of what each character is facing. The story is mostly told from the view point of the twins but sometimes you are shown what the other characters are feeling as well. Arundhati Roy is a social activist and understandably, this story is an attempt to tackle social issues concerning women, children and caste issues still rampant in India. The story isn’t what you’d call touching or inspiring. It’s a little difficult explaining the story without giving too much away.
Though The God of Small Things is intellectually stimulating and thought provoking, it can be considered light reading for the way it’s been told. It’s also interesting to know that this book is semi-autobiographical. I would recommend this book both for its story and the issues it fleshes out.