Tag Archives: The God of Small Things

A War

“And when we look in through the windows, all we see are shadows. And when we try and listen, all we hear is a whispering. And we cannot understand the whispering, because our minds have been invaded by a war. A war that we have both won and lost. The very worst sort of war. A war that captures dreams and re-dreams them. A war that has made us adore our conquerors and despise ourselves.”

― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

Writers Imagine

Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world. I’m beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so. That it’s actually the other way around. Stories cull writers from the world. Stories reveal themselves to us. The public narrative, the private narrative – they colonize us. They commission us. They insist on being told. Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of story telling. For reasons that I don’t fully understand, fiction dances out of me, and nonfiction is wrenched out by the aching, broken world I wake up to every morning.”

― Arundhati Roy

Radikal Readings: The God of Small Things

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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.

Great Stories

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“…the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. 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.

That is their mystery and their magic.” 

― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things