Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The God of small things

Arundhati Roy - The God of small things

This is like a politician making a true promise to the people. That's how rare is the occasion of me writing a review on a novel. For starters the book is easily the best novel I had read so far. That brings the next question, how many have I read and what are they ? Its countable using fingers and mostly recommended by bibliophiles who recommend them, authentic in person review and not forcible coaxing. This was amn exception though, I picked it up at landmark as I was happily jay walking with my friend during summer 06 in Chennai. You should also know my reading traits. I have read the first 2 chapters at least 15 times, before completing the book. I took 1.5 years to finish the book since it was bought. I like to savor every bit of what's been said. If I ever so feel uncomfortable in while reading, due to the gap between the reading sessions, I start from the beginning. This one unfortunately had many such breaks. Okay, lets get to the book.

The book is about 2 children, Siamese twins, to be precise. Rahel (a she) and Estha (a he) are the characters, who are absolutely adorable in every way, especially their childhood. Arundhati Roy is indeed the GOD of small things. The attention to detail is mind boggling. Not like green door, yellow wall kinda stuff, but in a beautiful way. These are things I like in a book: How succinctly an emotion is presented? The language used, I like it when it defines its own language and keeps it that way through out the book. The book by all means has its own language, quite remarkably different from anything I have read and to say that I have fallen in love with it is an huge understatement. The screenplay is different, in the sense that, in a semi-random way, the story moves back and forth in time. The story telling, which in my view, includes the language, the depiction of emotions, depiction of scenes and the screen play, easily gets it a 6/5.

The story takes place in Ayemenem, a village near Kottayam. Revolves around one incident that changes the lives of the 2 children. The book has its moments, plain embarrassing at places, some would call it gross but I wouldn't. The story as a whole is tragic and to shoot a small surprise it would easily qualify under 'humorous' genre. There are places where its very touching, vicarious emotions (I almost teared up in few places, if not for the masculine shell) and more so frequently funny. Funny as in a wide grin and not as in ROTFL.

The book describes in detail the characters in a way that's very realistic and conceivable. Kochu Maria, Baby Kochamma, Velutha, Ammu, Pillai to name a few. The book touches every aspect of Kerela, from communism to climate to the accented language.

It got the booker prize in 1997, reason behind which becomes obvious at 1/4th of the book. When I reached the end, its a mix of the disappointment of the book being completely read, the nostalgia I felt, the satisfaction of being able to feel and empathize with the characters and their emotions.

If you like this book like I do, then we should make really good friends.

Verdict:
If you read, not to get to the end of the book, but to cherish the reading, you will most probably love it. Arundhati Roy is the real God of small things. If you get to read this book and love it, you will become a Deity.

7 comments:

Brat said...

I enjoyed this book thoroughly myself! I read it a long time ago, and the book was so much fun to read, that I finished it in one go, in a few hours. Some parts of the book did attract some heat from the critics, due to a controversial plot, but that's what I liked best about the book - the bold depiction of certain things, without losing realism at any point. One example of such a part would be the iced lemonade or lolly pop seller (I don't remember exactly what the old man sold) who made Estha perform certain "acts". Arundathi Roy totally deserved that Booker Prize!

Macadamia The Nut said...

I loved the book. There's one line in there which stands out in my memory. It's something like this, "...kathakali dancers. And then they go home, eat, beat their wives and sleep"

Its not a reference to context, but I can't recollect the exact words. The way she wrote them was so profound. Equating beating wifes with something as ritualistic as going home for dinner.

Ankit said...

Even i loved the book.. but my reading habits are a bit different. I cant wait for so long to finish a book.

Sriram said...

couldn't finish it at all.. i see that it took 1.5 years fr you.. brave soul..

Kedhar said...

I couldnt get my mind off this book even after about 2 weeks of having finished it... thats the kinda impact it had on me... as u mentioned, absolutely beautiful screenplay.. i usually try to make the books i read into a movie in my mind... and if i ever become a director, this will be the first book i would direct :)

germinal dreamer said...

@brat yeah estha theatre episode stands out
@mac she has nailed th ekathakali dancers, i was able to empathize with their profession
@ankit good for u
@sriram U r missing something beautiful
@Kedar damn! even i woudl tak ethis as the first movie if ever taken.. but alas quite infeasible

DarkBlogger said...

I relate here. I have read God of small things nearly 15 times.. i dont mind readin it again..