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The God of Small Things

Arundhati Roy Author

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"They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much. "

The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, a skyblue Plymouth with chrome tailfins is stranded on the highway amid a Marxist workers' demonstration. Inside the car sit two-egg twins Rahel and Esthappen, and so begins their tale. . . .

Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, they fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family--their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu (who loves by night the man her children love by day), their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt), and the ghost of an imperial entomologist's moth (with unusually dense dorsal tufts).

When their English cousin, Sophie Mol, and her mother, Margaret Kochamma, arrive on a Christmas visit, Esthappen and Rahel learn that Things Can Change in a Day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever, beside their river "graygreen."  With fish in it. With the sky and trees in it. And at night, the broken yellow moon in it.

The brilliantly plotted story uncoils with an agonizing sense of foreboding and inevitability. Yet nothing prepares you for what lies at the heart of it.

The God of Small Things takes on the Big Themes--Love. Madness. Hope. Infinite Joy. Here is a writer who dares to break the rules. To dislocate received rhythms and create the language she requires, a language that is at once classical and unprecedented. Arundhati Roy has given us a book that is anchored to anguish, but fueled by wit and magic.

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Review:

In her first novel, award-winning Indian screenwriter Arundhati Roy conjures a whoosh of wordplay that rises from the pages like a brilliant jazz improvisation. The God of Small Things is nominally the story of young twins Rahel and Estha and the rest of their family, but the book feels like a million stories spinning out indefinitely; it is the product of a genius child-mind that takes everything in and transforms it in an alchemy of poetry. The God of Small Things is at once exotic and familiar to the Western reader, written in an English that's completely new and invigorated by the Asian Indian influences of culture and language.

From the Back Cover:

"A work of highly conscious art--A Tiger Woodsian début -- the author hits the long, socio-cosmic ball but is also exquisite in her short game. Like a devotionally built temple,

The God of Small Things builds a massive interlocking structure of fine, intensely felt details." - John Updike, The New Yorker

"A gorgeous and seductive fever dream of a novel, and a truly spectacular début." - Kirkus Reviews

"With sensuous prose, a dreamlike style infused with breathtakingly beautiful images and keen insights into human nature, Roy's début novel charts fresh territory in the genre of magical, prismatic literature--Roy's clarity of vision is remarkable, her voice original, her story beautifully constructed and masterfully told." - Publishers Weekly (*starred review)

"A work that is complex in structure, sophisticated in its handling of time, and bold in its themes. But perhaps what is most remarkable is Roy's deft use of language." - Maclean's

"A compelling tale of forbidden love and its catastrophic consequences, wonderfully vivid--Arundhati Roy's novel has a magic and mystery all its own." - The Toronto Star

"Roy weaves her bold and startling narrative in sequences of luminously rendered scenes--remarkable." - The Globe and Mail


"Drenched with poetic image and saturated with wisdom, the book's rich tapestry is a tour de force in good storytelling, a book to savour and remember." - The London Free Press

"A first novel of remarkable resonance and originality--like Rushdie she is a dazzling stylist, someone who loves the sound and play of words--The God of Small Things is both funny and insightful." - The Edmonton Journal


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