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WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • An affluent Indian family is forever changed by one fateful day in 1969, from the author of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

“[The God of Small Things] offers such magic, mystery, and sadness that, literally, this reader turned the last page and decided to reread it. Immediately. It’s that haunting.”—USA Today

Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing “big things [that] lurk unsaid” in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest.
 
Lush, lyrical, and unnerving,  The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated.

Review

“Dazzling . . . as subtle as it is powerful.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
 
“[ The God of Small Things] offers such magic, mystery, and sadness that, literally, this reader turned the last page and decided to reread it. Immediately. It’s that haunting.” USA Today
 
“The quality of Ms. Roy’s narration is so extraordinary—at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple—that the reader remains enthralled all the way through.” The New York Times Book Review
 
“A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does.” —John Updike, The New Yorker
 
“Outstanding. A glowing first novel.” Newsweek
 
“Splendid and stunning.” The Washington Post Book World

About the Author

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

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Chapter 1
PARADISE PICKLES & PRESERVES
 
May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.
 
The nights are clear, but suffused with sloth and sullen expectation.
 
But by early June the southwest monsoon breaks and there are three months of wind and water with short spells of sharp, glittering sunshine that thrilled children snatch to play with. The countryside turns an immodest green. Boundaries blur as tapioca fences take root and bloom. Brick walls turn mossgreen. Pepper vines snake up electric poles. Wild creepers burst through latente banks and spill across the flooded roads. Boats ply in the bazaars. And small fish appear in the puddles that fill the PWD potholes on the highways.
 
“It was raining when Rahel came back to Ayemenem. Slanting silver ropes slammed into loose earth, plowing it up like gunfire. The old house on the hill wore its steep, gabled roof pulled over its ears like a low hat. The walls, streaked with moss, had grown soft, and bulged a little with dampness that seeped up from the ground. The wild, overgrown garden was full of the whisper and scurry of small lives. In the undergrowth a rat snake rubbed itself against a glistening stone. Hopeful yellow bullfrogs cruised the scummy pond for mates. A drenched mongoose flashed across the leaf strewn driveway.
 
The house itself looked empty. The doors and windows were locked. The front verandah bare. Unfurnished. But the skyblue Plymouth with chrome tailfins was still parked outside, and inside, Baby Kochamma was still alive.
 
She was Rahel’s baby grandaunt, her grandfather’s younger sister. Her name was really Navomi, Navomi Ipe, but everybody called her Baby. She became Baby Kochamma when she was old enough to be an aunt. Rahel hadn’t come to see her, though. Neither niece nor baby grandaunt labored under any illusions on that account. Rahel had come to see her brother, Estha. They were two-egg twins. “Dizygotic” doctors called them. Born from separate but simultaneously fertilized eggs. Estha—Esthappen—was the older by eighteen minutes.
 
“They never did look much like each other, Estha and Rahel, and even when they were thin-armed children, flat-chested, wormridden and Elvis Presley-puffed, there was none of the usual “Who is who?” and “Which is which?” from oversmiling relatives or the Syrian Orthodox bishops who frequently visited the Ayemenem House for donations.
 
The confusion lay in a deeper, more secret place.
 
In those early amorphous years when memory had only just begun, when life was full of Beginnings and no Ends, and Everything was Forever, Esthappen and Rahel thought of themselves together as Me, and separately, individually, as We or Us. As though they were a rare breed of Siamese twins, physically separate, but with joint identities.
 
Now, these years later, Rahel has a memory of waking up one night giggling at Estha’s funny dream.
 
She has other memories too that she has no right to have.
 
She remembers, for instance (though she hadn’t been there), what the Orangedrink Lemondrink Man did to Estha in Abhilash Talkies. She remembers the taste of the tomato sandwiches—Estha’s sandwiches, that Estha ate—on the Madras Mail to Madras.
 
And these are only the small things.
 
 
Anyway, now she thinks of Estha and Rahel as Them, because, separately, the two of them are no longer what They were or ever thought They’d be.
 
Ever.
 
Their lives have a size and a shape now. Estha has his and Rahel hers.
 
Edges, Borders, Boundaries, Brinks and Limits have appeared like a team of trolls on their separate horizons. Short creatures with long shadows, patrolling the Blurry End. Gentle half-moons have gathered under their eyes and they are as old as Ammu was when she died. Thirty-one.
 
Not old.
 
Not young.
 
But a viable die-able age.
 
 
They were nearly born on a bus, Estha and Rahel. The car in which Babà, their father, was taking Ammu, their mother, to hospital in Shillong to have them, broke down on the winding tea-estate road in Assam. They abandoned the car and flagged down a crowded State Transport bus. With the queer compassion of the very poor for the comparatively well off, or perhaps only because they saw how hugely pregnant Ammu was, seated passengers made room for the couple, and for the rest of the journey Estha and Rahel’s father had to hold their mother’s stomach (with them in it) to prevent it from wobbling. That was before they were divorced and Ammu came back to live in Kerala.
 
According to Estha, if they’d been born on the bus, they’d have got free bus rides for the rest of their lives. It wasn’t clear where he’d got this information from, or how he knew these things, but for years the twins harbored a faint resentment against their parents for having diddled them out of a lifetime of free bus rides.
 
They also believed that if they were killed on a zebra crossing, the Government would pay for their funerals. They had the definite impression that that was what zebra crossings were meant for. Free funerals. Of course, there were no zebra crossings to get killed on in Ayemenem, or, for that matter, even in Kottayam, which was the nearest town, but they’d seen some from the car window when they went to Cochin, which was a two-hour drive away.
 
 
The Government never paid for Sophie Mol’s funeral because she wasn’t killed on a zebra crossing. She had hers in Ayemenem in the old church with the new paint. She was Estha and Rahel’s cousin, their uncle Chacko’s daughter. She was visiting from England. Estha and Rahel were seven years old when she died. Sophie Mol was almost nine. She had a special child-sized coffin.
 
Satin lined.
 
Brass handle shined.
 
She lay in it in her yellow Crimplene bell-bottoms with her hair in a ribbon and her Made-in-England go-go bag that she loved. Her face was pale and as wrinkled as a dhobi’s thumb from being in water for too long. The congregation gathered around the coffin, and the yellow church swelled like a throat with the sound of sad singing. The priests with curly beards swung pots of frankincense on chains and never smiled at babies the way they did on usual Sundays.
The long candles on the altar were bent. The short ones weren’t.
 
An old lady masquerading as a distant relative (whom nobody recognized, but who often surfaced next to bodies at funerals—a funeral junkie? A latent necrophiliac?) put cologne on a wad of cotton wool and with a devout and gently challenging air, dabbed it on Sophie Mol’s forehead. Sophie Mol smelled of cologne and coffin-wood.
 
Margaret Kochamma, Sophie Mol’s English mother, wouldn’t let Chacko, Sophie Mol’s biological father, put his arm around her to comfort her.
 
The family stood huddled together. Margaret Kochamma, Chacko, Baby Kochamma, and next to her, her sister-in-law, Mammachi—Estha and Rahel’s (and Sophie Mol’s) grandmother. Mammachi was almost blind and always wore dark glasses when she went out of the house. Her tears trickled down from behind them and trembled along her jaw like raindrops on the edge of a roof.
 
She looked small and ill in her crisp off-white sari. Chacko was Mammachi’s only son. Her own grief grieved her. His devastated her.
 
Though Ammu, Estha and Rahel were allowed to attend the funeral, they were made to stand separately, not with the rest of the family. Nobody would look at them.
 
It was hot in the church, and the white edges of the arum lilies crisped and curled. A bee died in a coffin flower. Ammu’s hands shook and her hymnbook with it. Her skin was cold. Estha stood close to her, barely awake, his aching eyes glittering like glass, his burning cheek against the bare skin of Ammu’s trembling, hymnbook-holding arm.
 
Rahel, on the other hand, was wide awake, fiercely vigilant and brittle with exhaustion from her battle against Real Life.
 
She noticed that Sophie Mol was awake for her funeral. She showed Rahel Two Things.
 
Thing One was the newly painted high dome of the yellow church that Rahel hadn’t ever looked at from the inside. It was painted blue like the sky, with drifting clouds and tiny whizzing jet planes with white trails that crisscrossed in the clouds. It’s true (and must be said) that it would have been easier to notice these things lying in a coffin looking up than standing in the pews, hemmed in by sad hips and hymnbooks.
 
Rahel thought of the someone who had taken the trouble to go up there with cans of paint, white for the clouds, blue for the sky, silver for the jets, and brushes, and thinner. She imagined him up there, someone like Velutha, barebodied and shining, sitting on a plank, swinging from the scaffolding in the high dome of the church, painting silver jets in a blue church sky.
 
She thought of what would happen if the rope snapped. She imagined him dropping like a dark star out of the sky that he had made. Lying broken on the hot church floor, dark blood spilling from his skull like a secret.
 
By then Esthappen and Rahel had learned that the world had other ways of breaking men. They were already familiar with the smell. Sicksweet. Like old roses on a breeze.
 
Thing Two that Sophie Mol showed Rahel was the bat baby.
 
During the funeral service, Rahel watched a small black bat climb up Baby Kochamma’s expensive funeral sari with gently clinging curled claws. When it reached the place between her sari and her blouse, her roll of sadness, her bare midriff, Baby Kochamma screamed and hit the air with her hymnbook. The singing stopped for a “Whatisit? Whathappened?” and for a Furrywhirring and a Sariflapping.
 
 

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4.3 out of 54.3 out of 5
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Top reviews from the United States

Cathryn Conroy
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This Is Great Literature, But It''s Also a Very Challenging and Difficult Book to Read
Reviewed in the United States on March 3, 2019
This is literature, perhaps even great literature. (This debut novel by Arundhati Roy did win the Man Booker prize in 1997, after all.) But that doesn''t mean it is an easy book to read. Quite the opposite. It''s a real challenge. Taking place in the small Indian... See more
This is literature, perhaps even great literature. (This debut novel by Arundhati Roy did win the Man Booker prize in 1997, after all.) But that doesn''t mean it is an easy book to read. Quite the opposite. It''s a real challenge.

Taking place in the small Indian town of Ayemenem, this is the story of twins Rahel and Estha and their deeply troubled extended family. The plot, which involves failed marriages, illicit love affairs, deaths, horrific forms of betrayal, and two kids trying to figure it all out, is secondary to the overarching theme of how we sometimes purposely and sometimes inadvertently destroy our own lives—generation after generation after generation. It is a story about family fights, forbidden love, forbidden sex, violent spousal abuse, child sexual abuse, incest, Indian politics, and the insurmountable differences between classes in India. And through it all Roy writes with a razor-sharp sharp perception of the comedy and tragedy of the human condition. Escapist reading this is not.

What makes it great literature: This is a celebration of language and the beauty of words. Each word is carefully chosen. Each sentence is perfect. The words flow like poetry and demand to be read a second time for their sheer beauty. But this isn''t poetry. It''s a novel. The structure, style and extraordinary word play are highly imaginative, perhaps even the work of a genius.

What makes it challenging: This tragic story is not told chronologically, jumping primarily between two distinct times—two weeks when the twins are 7 years old and later when they are 31 years old. And sometimes the jump comes without warning, which makes it very confusing. Key plot points are revealed long before they actually occur. And even while a major part of the plot is unfolding, the action jumps in time—from one day ahead to four days behind to two weeks ahead. As the author herself says, "It begins at the end and ends in the middle." Reading this book was not relaxing; it was work!

Advice: The first chapter is dense in important information, but because it jumps around in time and introduces many characters (yay for the Kindle X-ray feature!), I decided to reread the first 20 pages, something I don''t remember ever doing before. It then all clicked for me…and I was off and running.
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PlantBirdWoman
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy: A review
Reviewed in the United States on September 13, 2017
Arundhati Roy has a new book, her second novel, out this year and much acclaimed. I want to read it, but in thinking about that book, I remembered her remarkable debut novel, The God of Small Things, which was published twenty years ago in 1997. I had read the book back... See more
Arundhati Roy has a new book, her second novel, out this year and much acclaimed. I want to read it, but in thinking about that book, I remembered her remarkable debut novel, The God of Small Things, which was published twenty years ago in 1997. I had read the book back then, but in recalling it today, I found that its details had blurred and I wanted to read it again. And so I did.

It was even better the second time around. Perhaps my life experience in the last twenty years has given me a greater appreciation of the story.

Roy''s luminous prose makes reading an unadulterated pleasure, even when she is describing the tragic events of this tale. The story of fraternal ("two-egg" in the language of the book) twins Esthappen and Rahel and their childhood in the state of Kerala in the southern tip of India, as they try to understand and come to terms with their fractured family and as they learn to their eternal sorrow that the events of one day can change things forever, is a story which everyone who has ever been a child should be able to relate to.

Moreover, I thought the structure which Roy gave to the story was absolutely brilliant in its conception and execution. She begins the story at its end and ends it at its beginning and, throughout, the action slips effortlessly back and forth between the present and the beginnings in 1969.

The twins and their mother, Ammu, had returned to the family home in Ayemenem after the mother divorced her abusive drunkard husband. But because of the divorce, she is considered an outcast and she and her children are resented by the family, especially by her aunt, Baby Kochamma, a woman whose own desire for love has been thwarted.

In fact, everyone in this fraught household has been thwarted in love in one way or another.

Ammu''s brother, Chako (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, and radical Marxist), had married a woman in England but after their daughter was born, the first bloom of love faded and she left him for another man. Then, he, too, returned to Ayemenem.

Ammu''s and Chako''s mother, Mammachi, is a widow, now blind, who was regularly beaten by her husband with a brass pot when he was alive.

In this atmosphere of frustrated desires, Ammu must try to raise her children and give them happy lives.

The caste system is still very much a part of society in India in 1969 and it pollutes relations at every level. The twins have a friend, teacher, and protector in Velutha, a member of the Untouchable caste. He is someone who grew up with their mother. The two children love him by day, but, in secret, their lonely mother loves him at night. It is, of course, a forbidden love and one that can only end in grief.

The catalyst for the tragedy to come is the Christmas visit to the home by Chako''s ex-wife, Margaret, and his beloved daughter, Sophie. It''s impossible to further describe the plot without spoilers. Suffice to say that no one escapes unchanged.

Roy loads her narrative with foreshadowing so that one feels a constant sense of trepidation and anxiety. When the worst happens, it is hardly a surprise and yet the reader is still devastated.

What strikes me as most tragic is not so much the suffering of these flawed characters, but the fact that such suffering is so commonplace. We are reading of the effects of the caste system in India in the 1960s; it might just as easily be about racism, misogyny, xenophobia in America today. Human nature has not improved in the last fifty years. In that regard, sadly, Roy''s story stands up very well to the passage of time.
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Mrs. Longerbone
2.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Absorbing story, tedious reading
Reviewed in the United States on August 17, 2018
I though I would like this book better. The story was there, in there somewhere, but buried in overly lengthy description of every tiniest detail, particularly of nature, repeated many times, and descriptions of every language tic in the brain of some characters. Less of... See more
I though I would like this book better. The story was there, in there somewhere, but buried in overly lengthy description of every tiniest detail, particularly of nature, repeated many times, and descriptions of every language tic in the brain of some characters. Less of such description and more development of whole characters would have been appreciated. Added to this was the bouncing back and forth in time that became tiresome. I understand the concept, but the way in which it was done was chaotic, as if the author wrote the chapters, then cut them apart and threw them all in in the air and put them in the random order in which they had landed. Some of it served the author''s use of very heavy-handed foreshadowing. By the last few chapters of the book, I was so tired of it and anxious to be done that I skimmed madly to get to the end. It is a rare thing for me to finish a book and not miss reading it when I reach the end. This one satisfied in that regard.
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Melissa
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Extremely disappointed
Reviewed in the United States on April 13, 2019
I dislike everything about this book. The flat, unlikable characters, the ridiculously over-descriptive writing that jumps all over the place making it taxing to even follow what’s going on. The whole story is tedious and never seems to gets to any sort of point. I never... See more
I dislike everything about this book. The flat, unlikable characters, the ridiculously over-descriptive writing that jumps all over the place making it taxing to even follow what’s going on. The whole story is tedious and never seems to gets to any sort of point. I never quit a book without finishing it but just don’t think I have it in me to see it through when there are so many other good books out there. Don’t waste your time.
30 people found this helpful
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Judith M. Kirscht
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A Story That Grows on You
Reviewed in the United States on April 2, 2018
Arundhati Roy, in his tale of “two-egg twins,” weaves a story that will stay with you and grow long after you’ve put it down. Roy brings the Indian valley around Ayemenem to life with a power and depth that reminds me of Steinbeck’s rendition of the Salinas Valley. Its... See more
Arundhati Roy, in his tale of “two-egg twins,” weaves a story that will stay with you and grow long after you’ve put it down. Roy brings the Indian valley around Ayemenem to life with a power and depth that reminds me of Steinbeck’s rendition of the Salinas Valley. Its heat, smells, wildlife suck you with an intensity far deeper than the “vast, violent, circling, driving, ridiculous, insane, unfeasible, public turmoil of a nation.” It is a book for those who love being carried deep into the time and place that shape the destinies of the characters.

Rahel and Estha who, though they are “two-egg twins,” share each other’s inner lives as they grow up in a world shaped by their mother, Ammu, their Uncle Chaco, their grandaunt, Baby Kochama, and the Paradise Pickle and Preserves factory owned by their grandmother, Mamachi. The world of Small Things. As the story opens, they are returning to Ayamenem as adults split from each other by a past shaped in some way by the death of their cousin, Sophie Mol.
We then return to the world of seven-year olds on their way to the airport to meet Chaco’s British ex-wife, and their cousin, Sophie Mol. Through their eyes, we learn with them the adult world, where western culture has descended via television onto the already chaotic colonial mix of Indian and British. Estha wears his “Elvis puff. His “Special Outing Puff.” Rahel’s hair is held by a “Love in Tokyo,”—two beads on a rubber band—and her “Airport Frock.”

The story of the tragedy that ended that visit unfolds slowly through the lives of the household as each stumbles through the incoherent mix of language and custom—The God of Big Things. The children learn the mix of English and Indian culture along with universal adult axioms (control your Hopes, not doing so is a Bad Sign) with an innocence that makes its incoherence hilarious and heartwarming. They fill us with joy and dread. They are, as their mother sees them “small bewildered frogs engrossed in each other’s company, lolloping arm in arm down a highway full of hurtling traffic. Entirely oblivious of what trucks can do to frogs.”

And inevitably, it happens. The mix childish misadventure and Big God tabu that comes crashing down in an afternoon on the river is horrifying and devastating. We have come to love these people and feel a part of their struggle to make sense of the world.
21 people found this helpful
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Erica_O
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Gross
Reviewed in the United States on December 3, 2019
Terrible, perverse, basically written child pornography.
12 people found this helpful
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D'vo
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Life changing / yes it''s confusing/ it''s worth it.
Reviewed in the United States on July 26, 2021
With the story of Kathakali Men Arundhati Roy gives the key to understanding her amazing story. It does not matter if you come in in the middle or the beginning or the end of the story each story is a story in itself meant to be understood and appreciated for what is... See more
With the story of Kathakali Men Arundhati Roy gives the key to understanding her amazing story. It does not matter if you come in in the middle or the beginning or the end of the story each story is a story in itself meant to be understood and appreciated for what is happening at that given time.
And yes it can be confusing but if taken chapter for chapter it is one of the best written narratives I have ever read the descriptions and metaphors the emotions and thought processes of the children as they grow up are truly transformative.
And yes it also all ties together and make sense as a whole homogeneous story in the end.
2 people found this helpful
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Kayce Stevens Hughlett
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Beautiful & Haunting
Reviewed in the United States on July 5, 2017
The prose and use of descriptive language in this book was beautiful, but at times it bogged my reading down and left me feeling dizzy. The setting, India, can be like this too. The characters are strong, the premise haunting. I wanted to love this book, but sadly I didn''t.... See more
The prose and use of descriptive language in this book was beautiful, but at times it bogged my reading down and left me feeling dizzy. The setting, India, can be like this too. The characters are strong, the premise haunting. I wanted to love this book, but sadly I didn''t. I''m glad I read it, even happier to be finished with it.
16 people found this helpful
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Top reviews from other countries

VenkyIyer58
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Review of The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy
Reviewed in India on October 27, 2017
Here is a book that has had me flabbergasted since I started reading it. Now that I have finished with it, I am still unable to shake off a sense of… disbelief? Let’s consider why. To begin with, the book is about a Syrian Christian family in Kerala, God’s Own Country in...See more
Here is a book that has had me flabbergasted since I started reading it. Now that I have finished with it, I am still unable to shake off a sense of… disbelief? Let’s consider why. To begin with, the book is about a Syrian Christian family in Kerala, God’s Own Country in India. The story is about family intrigues, intrigues of love in and out of wedlock, political intrigues, industry ownership and labor movement intrigues. And children ensnared in the whole shindig. While I am not Christian, part of my own ancestry is from Kerala, so I felt a sense of identity as I went through the book. I have identified and I have not identified. After finishing the book and ruminating over it for a couple of days, I have not identified the protagonist. There are a few candidates in the book, but not one of them stands out more than the other. And yet, the story is whole. There is an identifiable beginning, a mindboggling middle and a uncertain end that leaves the reader guessing. For a long time after the end, to be fair to the story. I am not able to identify the writing style. It is crazy, and I am using that word after a lot of consideration. The storyline shows no respect for accepted theories on clarity of points of view and it shows scant deference to prescribed norms of backstory. It jumps from here to there and back, from him to her and back, from then to now and back with gray abandon. The tone of the book is neither bright white, nor dull black, but all shades of gray in between. And yet, this extraordinary mishmash of ingredients works as a story, because it is almost horrifying in its underlying grime and struggle and pathos. It worked on me.
185 people found this helpful
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Beena Sodhi
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Don''t resell this book. It would be unfair to the next reader.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on July 31, 2019
This book is all about the author''s attempts to be clever and controversial. No, it''s crap. Lower caste characters are ''black calloused'' characters are blind, paralysed and ''so black you couldn''t see the blood''. Higher class characters are smooth and light skinned with...See more
This book is all about the author''s attempts to be clever and controversial. No, it''s crap. Lower caste characters are ''black calloused'' characters are blind, paralysed and ''so black you couldn''t see the blood''. Higher class characters are smooth and light skinned with dimples and classical violinist as a hobby. This is based in Kerala right? If you say so. And the middle characters are all communists or Syrian Christians. That''s it for them. Laughable, the author''s attempts at using the short lived communist movement as enlightening backdrop. Absolutely no connection or anything comes from the Communism angle. The author trying to be clever I guess. The author is not clever. She simply wrote a story pandering to white readers in the US (the British don''t need such childish details about Indians). And this book is the Booker Prize receiver? What a joke... Get ready for predictable child abuse, you can see this a mile away, as soon as you read about the ridiculously detailed descriptions of the clothes, hair, hair band, shoes, colour of shoes, colour of dress blah blah blah. This is all boringly repeated every single time the character arc moved a millimeter forward. The conclusion of the character arcs - all sad, somewhat disgusting and disappointing. Seriously, the author''s attempts to be controversial is pushed out to twins having sex. That''s it. That''s where these character''s, whom you have had to painfully follow throughout the book (in a boring not an emotional way). Their conclusion, after all, is twins having sex. Slow clap to the author... Be prepared with being left angry and dismayed (even disgusted) at the end of this book. Absolutely no reward (positive or negative) at all. Be prepared for coma inducing detailed descriptions throughout really, from the drooping leaves in the rain (wow how original) to the log in the river dancing (amazing) to the character of the spider in the crack being moody. So very unnecessary, long winded and ridiculous. Go away and cleanse your palate with A Suitable Boy. Sea of Poppies. Red Earth Pouring Rain. Anything but this.
46 people found this helpful
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Shresth
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Some next level thing
Reviewed in India on September 19, 2018
This is not just another novel that you come across, this is serious, I just couldn''t believe myself when I got to know that this was Arundhati Roy''s first novel. It was truly deserving for the booker prize. This is not one of those novels that you pick up and finish in one...See more
This is not just another novel that you come across, this is serious, I just couldn''t believe myself when I got to know that this was Arundhati Roy''s first novel. It was truly deserving for the booker prize. This is not one of those novels that you pick up and finish in one go.You''ll be carried along In to a journey, you''ll feel pain of the characters and feel joy in their happiness. The phrases and the style of writing is ingenious. You may find it a little bit hard to keep up with certain character names, but you will never ever regret reading this book.
91 people found this helpful
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elizad
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Turgid
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on October 31, 2020
This book reads like the 300 words of descriptive prose you were asked to write in school. Okay, one page of OTT descriptive prose is fine, but a whole book of it? I gave up at page 10. Well done to those of you who read more of it and thought you ought to like it because...See more
This book reads like the 300 words of descriptive prose you were asked to write in school. Okay, one page of OTT descriptive prose is fine, but a whole book of it? I gave up at page 10. Well done to those of you who read more of it and thought you ought to like it because everyone has raved about it and because it got the Booker Prize, but really! I suspect the good reviews started off like the Emperor''s New Clothes - because someone says it''s good and it''s written in a florid style, it has to be good. I didn''t get a sense of purpose, place or time - just ornate, "exuberant" someone called it, prose, written in order to be, well, good prose. This did absolutely nothing for me at all and I know that after ploughing through the first ten pages of sensual overload, I''d read enough. It really makes me question these book awards. There was no light and shade in the language, just overkill of adjective, metaphor and simile and at page ten I felt I was wading through highly spiced treacle.
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abbas virji
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
To be read and savoured repeatedly .
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 25, 2017
This is an absolutely must read book. The formidable use of English language is enthralling in the way Roy describes nature, human emotions and interactions, and the way everyday humdrum is enlivened with rich metaphors and allegory is impressive. Like Salman Rushdee''s...See more
This is an absolutely must read book. The formidable use of English language is enthralling in the way Roy describes nature, human emotions and interactions, and the way everyday humdrum is enlivened with rich metaphors and allegory is impressive. Like Salman Rushdee''s works this book cannot and should not be skimmed. If you like savouring the beauty of language then this is for you. There is the story of two-egg twins, Esthappen and Rahel, whose love of the ''untouchable'' Velutha, who is also loved ( in a different way) by their widowed mother at the centre. There is the presence in their lives of the twins'' Oxford educated uncle whose widowed ex-wife returns from England with their daughter, Sophie Mol, (dies tragically). The account of the physical love between Ammu and Velutha is perhaps the crowning glory of achievement here. Read it and savour it.
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