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The God of small things

Discussion in 'Book Lovers' started by reshna, Sep 27, 2005.

  1. reshna

    reshna New IL'ite

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    Hi!

    Have anyone here read "The God of small things" by Arundhati Roy?

    I hear mixed reviews about this book and want to know your thoughts before I go ahead and buy the book to read it. Please share your comments about the book.

    Reshna
     
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  2. Varloo

    Varloo Gold IL'ite

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    Hai,
    I started to read the book. But I found it very slow. Even then I read it but I didn't like it as it was like a documentary on exploitation (sexual ) of children. So I returned the book to the library. May be I am not a literary person to enjoy an award winning book.
    Varloo
     
  3. reshna

    reshna New IL'ite

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    Thanks for your views...

    Hi Varloo,

    Very nice of you to share your views. I was a bit confused whether to buy this book because of the mixed reviews I had been hearing about it. Even I would like to read books that keeps moving faster. Let me try whether I get in our local library for renting to read and find the interest levels.

    Thanks again,

    Reshna
     
  4. Ashna

    Ashna Bronze IL'ite

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    The God of Small things - By Arundhati Roy

    The God of Small things
    The novel is rich with Indian family relationships, social custom and mores, politics, and the most universal of human emotions and behavior. At one and the same time, it is a suspenseful and tragic mystery, a love story, and an exposition of the paradoxes that exist in an ancient land whose history was forever altered by its British colonizers.
    The narrative structure is skillful, weaving back and forth from the present to the past, foretelling without revealing future events. In this sense, it might be analogous to reconstructing an illness from a chaotic patient narrative. The reader is alert to signals but isn't immediately sure what they signify, and is drawn to return to earlier sections as the story unfolds, in order to derive full meaning from all of its parts.
    The author's style is both poetic and whimsical. The larger story contains many smaller ones that stand alone as small gems of observation and insight. The perspective of childhood--of imagination and inventiveness, of incomplete understanding, fear, dependence, assertion of independence, vulnerability, comradeship, competitive jealousy, and wonderment--is beautifully rendered

    Set in a small town in Kerala, The God of Small Things is about a family, seen from the perspective of seven-year-old Rahel. She and her twin brother, Estha, live with their mother, Ammu, who was married to a Bengali, the children's Baba, but from whom she is divorced. Ammu and, therefore, the twins seem to live on sufferance in the Ayemenem house with their grandmother, uncle, and grand-aunt Baby. The family owns a pickle factory that comes into conflict with the Communists.
    The family is awaiting the arrival of Sophie Mol, the twins' half-English cousin and the narrative moves backwards and forwards to the arrival and the aftermath of the death by drowning of Sophie Mol and an ill fated love affair between Ammu and the untouchable Velutha. Rahel returns to Aymanam as an adult to a decimated household, a dysfunctional twin and a decaying house.

    That, as Rahel would say, is the purely practical way of looking at it. There is much more.

    Like most first novels, it is heavily autobiographical and the child character Rahel is so clearly Roy herself that she is a completely plausible character with whom the reader can empathise. In fact, the book's strength lies in its portrayal of the family, its weakness is the story.

    So what, I asked myself, are my reservations about this book? I believe that despite the fine writing, the evocative descriptions, there is something formulaic about it. The inter-caste affair and the death of a child that lies at the heart of the book are very predictable and the love affair is not plausible, it does not spring from either the characterisation or the needs of the story. There is a sense of manipulation by the author and I thought the incest scene at the end was unnecessary but probably, it was one of the things that people look for nowadays & which makes for a successful book. The masturbation of the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man by Estha is one of these so-called necessary components of a successful book.

    In this connection it must be said that Roy handles the sex scene between Ammu and Velutha with artistry. Nevertheless, Ammu's affair with the untouchable is wholly implausible, the more so because Roy does not bother to develop the relationship, it is suddenly sprung on us and we cannot imagine the motivation. This could also beone of the drawbacks of using a seven-year-old as one's narrator.

    The God of Small Things is often very amusing; there is a lovely passage where a child recites Lochinvar with a Malayali intonation and pronunciation.

    For those who know Kerala, it is all very interesting and for those who don't, it is certainly exotic and interesting, but despite all the fine writing, the bottom line is that one is left largely unmoved by the tragedy that unfolds. But perhaps that doesn't matter and the style's the thing.

    I think that a story is like the surface of water. And you can take what you want from it. Its volubility is its strength.

    Enjoy, Ashna
     
  5. shyamala1234

    shyamala1234 Platinum IL'ite

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    I reaD the book God of small things by Arundhati Roy. I did not like it and I did not understand it's greatness. I do not know how it got an award. I recommend not to buy or read the book.
     

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