The God of Small Things

Front Cover
Harper Collins, 1997 - Fiction - 321 pages
1847 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
The ending was a let down though... - Goodreads

Review: The God of Small Things

User Review  - Lena - Goodreads

3.5 Overall I liked this book and found it interesting, but it was really hard to read when the twins were narrating the story because things got really fragmented and confusing then. I don't think I ... Read full review

Review: The God of Small Things

User Review  - Elizabeth - Goodreads

I wanted to like it more than I did. The language was beautiful, the construction of the story mysterious and intricate, but ultimately I can't say I loved it because it made me sad, throughout. It is ... Read full review

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Contents

Paradise Pickles Preserves
3
Pappachis Moth
35
Big Man the Laltain Small Man the Mombatti
84
Abhilash Talkies
90
Gods Own County
118
Cochin Kangaroos
130
Wisdom Exercise Notebooks
148
Welcome Home Our Sophie Mol
157
Kochi Thomban
217
The Pessimist and the Optimist
226
Work is Struggle
254
The Crossing
273
A Few Hours Later
275
Cochin Harbor Terminus
279
The History House
288
Saving Ammu
297

Mrs Pillai Mrs Eapen Mrs Rajagopalan
178
The River in the Boat
184
The God of Small Things
205
The Madras Mail
306
The Cost of Living
313
Copyright

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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)

Suzanna Arundhati Roy, 1961 - Suzanna Roy was born November 24, 1961. Her parents divorced and she lived with her mother Mary Roy, a social activist, in Aymanam. Her mother ran an informal school named Corpus Christi and it was there Roy developed her intellectual abilities, free from the rules of formal education. At the age of 16, she left home and lived on her own in a squatter's colony in Delhi. She went six years without seeing her mother. She attended Delhi School of Architecture where she met and married fellow student Gerard Da Cunha. Neither had a great interest in architecture so they quit school and went to Goa. They stayed there for seven months and returned broke. Their marriage lasted only four years. Roy had taken a job at the National Institute of Urban Affairs and, while cycling down a road; film director Pradeep Krishen offered her a small role as a tribal bimbo in Massey Saab. She then received a scholarship to study the restoration of monuments in Italy. During her eight months in Italy, she realized she was a writer. Now married to Krishen, they planned a 26-episode television epic called Banyan Tree. They didn't shoot enough footage for more than four episodes so the serial was scrapped. She wrote the screenplay for the film In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones and Electric Moon. Her next piece caused controversy. It was an article that criticized Shekar Kapur's film Bandit Queen, which was about Phoolan Devi. She accused Kapur of misrepresenting Devi and it eventually became a court case. Afterwards, finished with film, she concentrated on her writing, which became the novel "A God of Small Things." It is based on what it was like growing up in Kerala. The novel contains mild eroticism and again, controversy found Roy having a public interest petition filed to remove the last chapter because of the description of a sexual act. It took Roy five years to write "A God of Small Things" and was released April 4, 1997 in Delhi. It received the Booker prize in London in 1997 and has topped the best-seller lists around the world. Roy is the first non-expatriate Indian author and the first Indian woman to win the Booker prize.

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