God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

January 06, 20243 min read

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy transports you to a world where the air is sticky with overly ripe fruit, nestled in the mountains of Kerala. Where you see the playful innocence of two twins, who have the uncanny ability to know what the other is thinking. Slipping between the past and the future, it keeps you flipping page after page to see how the story unfolds. We witness forbidden love, and the severe, if not inhumane repercussions of it. A tragedy that leaks and touches everything around it, so that everything is connected by the thread of misery. The backdrop of all of this, being the political tension that threatens to explode into violence at the faintest flicker.

The most interesting thing about this read, is how Roy crafts sentences in ways you’ve never seen before, and didn’t believe possible.

It moves you, and I think it’s a fantastic novel.

The slow ceiling fan sliced the thick, frightened air into an unending spiral that spun slowly to the floor like the peeled skin of an endless potato.

It is only now, these years later, that Rahel with adult hindsight, recognised the sweetness of that gesture. A grown man entertaining three raccoons, treating them like real ladies. Instinctively colluding in the conspiracy of their fiction, taking care not to decimate it with adult carelessness. Or affection.

It is after all so easy to shatter a story. To break a chain of thought. To ruin a fragment of a dream being carried around carefully like a piece of porcelain.

To let it be, to travel with it, as Velutha did, is much the harder thing to do.

It didn’t matter that the story had begun, because kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic.

Read on 10th October 2023

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Apurva Shukla

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