It has been quite a while since I’ve cried while reading a book, but The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy reduced me to tears to by the time I turned the last page.
A review on the back of my copy stated that all the good novels create their own language and Roy certainly does. Her writing is poetic and incredibly moving. She takes widely covered subjects, and turns it into something brand new with her prose. The novel is told in third person, yet, for some pivotal moments it is told from the perspective of one of the two-egg twins (the main characters – Rahel and Estha), Rahel. This is where the different language comes in play as words and phrases are written about from the view of the innocent of a child.
While it’s fiction – the only novel Roy has written to date – it still takes a political stand but more than that a human stand. She explores themes of class relations, the caste system, politics, culture, forbidden love and social discrimination. Most importantly, what she calls, Love laws – who can be loved and who can’t.
It’s heartbreaking, maddening and yet the truly abysmal aspect is that this is a story (the bare bit of it) that happens all the time. Even in present day.
If you are looking for a light read, this isn’t for you. There isn’t a wonderful resolution to all the tragedy. It is raw; it is life. This is one of those novels that will stay with me long after I’ve finished it. Estha, Rahel, Ammu, Velutha and their tragically heartbreaking story. Superb.