Thursday, April 16, 2015


   The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Photo courtesy of Tina.

THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS takes us into Ayemenem, a village in the Kottayam District of Kerala, India, during the 1960s, when the Twist was a hit and bell-bottom pants were the fad. We meet the twins Rahel Mol and Esthappen Yako, whose view of life was distorted by their complicated family and childhood tragedy.

There is more to this book than the story that changes from when “Everything is Forever” to when “Things can change in a day”. It is set upon social discrimination, domestic atrocity, and the caste system, fused with basic human desires. The imposition of the social segregation and blind bureaucracy allows the inevitability of violence, both physical and psychological.

The core theme deals with the consequences of forbidden love – those who tamper with "the laws that lay down who should be loved and how…and how much." Crossing such a divide is a place where "anything can happen to anyone" and "it is best to be prepared". And so, every detail is rich, showing varying degrees of disparity, wickedness, and prejudice.

Arundhati Roy used layers of themes to support the core. One of which is her emphasis on the small moments, creatures, objects, and changes –like whispers, the play of light, and the activities of small insects. 
Small things that lead to the bigger picture. 
Small things that adults fail to acknowledge. 
Small things that are magnified, rather, through the eyes of small children.

The story has a non-linear narrative, it unfolds like a memory. It delves on its themes, rather on the chronological order of events, which demands the reader’s close attention. Initially, it can be really trying to get through, given its sudden narrative shifts from past to present ever so often. However, this novel has a way of transforming into an amazing read. The most reader may be put off by the repetitions, which was a charm for me, along with the singsong sense of wordplay that Roy employed. I believe that it gave focus on the innocent way a child sees the world, and on their vulnerability from fear that can seed in, propagate, and shatter their world. Compared to the ignorance employed by the adults around them, until the very end.

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 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.

This book is anchored on misery and told with unusual prose that assaults the senses in unspeakable fervor.

Book details:
Title: The God of Small Things
Publication: Harper Perennial; May 1, 1998
Genre: Literary Fiction
Rating: ★★★★

F2F39, held at Om Lifestyle + Cafe, Greenhills, San Juan City, 
last March 21, moderated by sweet Monique.


  1. I love your review, Mommy L! And thank you for your contribution and attendance at the F2F! Mwah! <3

    1. Hey, thank you din! It was a delight, really!
      This review, though, went through some major edits, because books like this are difficult not to pelt with spoilers. :)

  2. Oh this book is truly misery filled. Gah. And I agree on the "child-like sense of wordplay", and how it underscored the innocence of the twins, and made it all the more heartbreaking. :)