Review: The God of Small Things

Feature Desk Published: 6 October 2018, 05:37 PM | Updated: 6 October 2018, 05:38 PM
Review: The God of Small Things
Maria Zaman

You may find hundreds of summaries, book reviews of Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things. But I still feel like writing one because this novel holds a very special place in my heart for its unique writing style.

It is important to mention that I haven’t come across this novel just like that rather I had to read it for my academic purpose and when I completed reading The god of Small Things, I completely fell in love with its plot and characters.

The setting of the novel is in a small town in Kerala in the South India. The setting changes from place to place like Assam, London and USA but the main story takes place in Kerala. The story is about a family and the story here is narrated from the perspective of a seven-year old Rahel who is one of the main protagonists in this novel.

The other protagonist is her twin brother Estha. The twin lived with their mother, Ammu who was married to a Bengali man but was later divorced. And this is why they had to move to Ayemenem House in Kerala where they had to live with their uncle, grandmother and great-grandmother. The family owns a pickle factory which later comes to a conflict with a communist party. 

In this novel the reader will get to explore the colonial history of Britain and Portuguese as well as the caste system of Hindu religion. The novel is set in 1969 but the continuous movement of past and present (1993) will make the reader difficult to follow. But once the reader grasp the idea of the continuous shift, it will be easy for the reader to take a grip of this novel.

Arundhati Roy wrote this novel in a very difficult manner and used very colloquial English which gave the novel a very different dimension.

The novel consists of 21 chapters with 21 different titles to it. In chapter 4, “Abhilash Talkies” readers will explore the scene where the little child Estha got sexually abused by a man. The detailed description of this scenario might make you feel disgust at the beginning but this is how Arundhati Roy chose to write her novel to make the reader aware of Estha’s distress.

Additionally, the Ayemenem House plays as a character in this novel where small accidents ruin the lives of the people, staying in the house. While the novel is heartbreaking and brutal, the reader will still feel the novel mesmerizing because of the elaborate and vivid descriptions. 

The books is carefully constructed which demands readers full attention. I will recommend the readers to go somewhere without distractions so that they can fully surrender to Arundhati Roys’s  Language and follow the emotional logic of her narrative. Moreover, Roy winning the Brooker Prize placed her among the ranks of such writers as Salman Rushdie.

      -Reviewed by Maria Zaman, a student of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh.