The God of small things

by Arundhati ROY | Literature & Fiction | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: 0060977493 Global Overview for this book
Registered by Joanthro of Denver, Colorado USA on 4/2/2004
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by Joanthro from Denver, Colorado USA on Friday, April 2, 2004
This book won the Booker Prize and is really a very fine book. Roy's use of language is beautiful and evocative. Her charaters are complex and ultimately tragic. Although I don't usually enjoy reading about tragic families, this book is so well plotted and beautifully written that I have read it several times now. (I found this copy at a library sale - I can't part with my copy!)

Journal Entry 2 by Joanthro from Denver, Colorado USA on Tuesday, April 6, 2004
I've just sent this book to goatgrrl in New Westminster, British Columbia in trade for The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas. I hope you enjoy it. Good luck on your quest to read all the Booker Award books!

Journal Entry 3 by goatgrrl from New Westminster, British Columbia Canada on Wednesday, April 21, 2004
A wonderful trade from Joanthro, mailed in Denver on April 6th, received in New Westminster, BC on April 21st (I'm afraid the mail from USA -> Canada didn't move as quickly as the mail in the other direction, and I have no doubt this is either the fault of Canada Customs, or Canada Post ...!). Thanks so much for the bookmarks and the note, as well -- the whole package was so nice to receive.

Very best wishes from British Columbia!

Journal Entry 4 by goatgrrl from New Westminster, British Columbia Canada on Thursday, December 23, 2004
The God of Small Things is set in the real-life village of Ayemenem, near the town of Kottayam in the state of Kerala, southwest India. The novel tells the story of twins Rahel and Esthappen ("Estha") Kochamma, who are thirty-one as the novel begins (sometime in the 1990s), but children throughout much of the story. The 'bones' of this novel are revealed in its first pages: the twins' half-English cousin Sophie Mol (Mol means young girl in Malayalam) will drown; their untouchable friend Velutha will be killed; a forbidden love affair will occur; the twins will be separated (they are reunited as the novel begins); and their mother -- Ammu -- will die of cancer at thirty-one (she is twenty-seven in 1969, when cousin Sophie and her mother come from England to visit Sophie's father, the twins' uncle Chacko). But it is the relationship of each of these events to the other, and the importance of each occurrence to all that happens next, which forms the real subject matter of God of Small Things.

Be prepared to make notes as you read this novel, as Roy's flashback/flash-forward style -- while effective in depicting the psychological links between the past and the present -- can be disorienting. However disorienting or not, it illustrates very well the irrelevance of chronology to meaning -- in other words, that you can know from the beginning the bare bones of how a story will end, without fully understanding the depth of meaning and significance which may attach. A little coyly, Roy describes this same phenomenon in the part of the story where Rahel sits down to watch a kathakali dance in mid-performance:

It didn't matter that the story had begun, because kathakali discovered long ago that 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. (p. 218)

Arundhati Roy was the first Indian citizen to win the Booker Prize. (The West Indian-born VS Naipaul and British citizen Salman Rushdie, born in Bombay, have also won the award.) There's a review of God of Small Things in Salon magazine here, and an interview with Arundhati Roy (also in Salon) here. The Guardian published a lengthy profile on Roy in 2002, available online here, and there's an interesting interview with her mother, Mary Roy, here.

(Photo: the backwaters around Ayemenem -- borrowed from this online travelogue by Partha S. Banerjee.)

Journal Entry 5 by goatgrrl from New Westminster, British Columbia Canada on Tuesday, January 4, 2005
The God of Small Things is on its way to a BookCrosser in Alava, Spain. Happy trails, little book!

Journal Entry 6 by Sorgin from Cáceres, Cáceres Spain on Tuesday, January 11, 2005
Received from Goatgrrl as a RABCK, thank you very much for the book and the canadian pin!!

My best wishes!

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