The God of Small Things

Front Cover
Harper Collins, 1997 - Fiction - 321 pages
1087 Reviews

The story of the tragic decline of an Indian family whose members suffer the terrible consequences of forbidden love, The God of Small Things is set in the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India. Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, the twins Rahel and Esthappen fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family -- their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu (who loves by night the man her children love by day), their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt), and the ghost of an imperial entomologist's moth (with unusually dense dorsal tufts).

When their English cousin and her mother arrive on a Christmas visit, the twins learn that Things Can Change in a Day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever. The brilliantly plotted story uncoils with an agonizing sense of foreboding and inevitability. Yet nothing prepares you for what lies at the heart of it.


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The plot unfolds at a perfect pace. - Goodreads
Found the prose horridly stultifying. - Goodreads
Amazing amazing writing! - Goodreads
I found this book very hard to read. - Goodreads
Fantastic use of language and imagery. - Goodreads
great description, character insight. - Goodreads

Review: The God of Small Things

User Review  - Amy - Goodreads

It's a long time since I read this, and all I can remember is that I came away feeling confused and disturbed by much of it and wondering if all of it was necessary, or some of it maybe gratuitous ... Read full review

Review: The God of Small Things

User Review  - Anirban Nanda - Goodreads

The language felt very hard to grasp. I will give it another try later. Read full review

All 12 reviews »


Paradise Pickles Preserves
Pappachis Moth
Big Man the Laltain Small Man the Mombatti
Abhilash Talkies
Gods Own County
Cochin Kangaroos
Wisdom Exercise Notebooks
Welcome Home Our Sophie Mol
Kochi Thomban
The Pessimist and the Optimist
Work is Struggle
The Crossing
A Few Hours Later
Cochin Harbor Terminus
The History House
Saving Ammu

Mrs Pillai Mrs Eapen Mrs Rajagopalan
The River in the Boat
The God of Small Things
The Madras Mail
The Cost of Living

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Page 218 - It didn't matter that the story had begun, because kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that they 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, yet you listen as though...
Page 218 - GO 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, yet 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.
Page 24 - All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
Page 57 - And it is I, Raksha [The Demon], who answer. The man's cub is mine, Lungri mine to me! He shall not be killed. He shall live to run with the Pack and to hunt with the Pack...
Page 120 - So there it was then, History and Literature enlisted by commerce. Kurtz and Karl Marx joining palms to greet rich guests as they stepped off the boat.
Page 51 - Chacko told the twins that, though he hated to admit it, they were all Anglophiles. They were a family of Anglophiles. Pointed in the wrong direction, trapped outside their own history and unable to retrace their steps because their footprints had been swept away.
Page 71 - ... remember a time, in her girlhood, when Paravans were expected to crawl backwards with a broom, sweeping away their footprints so that Brahmins or Syrian Christians would not defile themselves by accidentally stepping into a Paravan's footprint. In Mammachi's time, Paravans, like other Untouchables, were not allowed to walk on public roads, not allowed to cover their upper bodies, not allowed to carry umbrellas. They had to put their hands over their mouths when they spoke, to divert their polluted...
Page 51 - It said: (1) Place suitably in particular order. (2) Bring mind into certain state. (3) Do what one will with, get off one's hands, stow away, demolish, finish, settle, consume (food), kill, sell. Chacko said that in Pappachi's case it meant (2) Bring mind into certain state. Which, Chacko said, meant that Pappachi's mind had been brought into a state which make him like the English.
Page 9 - Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear sister here departed, we therefore commit her body to the ground ; earth to earth .... ashes to. ashes .... dust to dust...
Page 9 - I'd go home quietly.' Then he tapped her breasts with his baton. Gently. Tap, tap. As though he was choosing mangoes from a basket. Pointing out the ones that he wanted packed and delivered.

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About the author (1997)

Arundhati Roy was trained as an architect. She has worked as a production designer and has written the screenplays for two films. She lives in New Delhi. This is her first book.

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