Reader reviews and comments on The God of Small Things, plus links to write your own review.

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The God of Small Things

by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy X
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
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  • First Published:
    May 1997, 321 pages
    May 1998, 321 pages

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There are currently 55 reader reviews for The God of Small Things
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Sharlene Packree (10/16/03)

this book touched my life, Ms Roy has a beautiful way with words. This book has shown me the power of love.It will always be my favourite book, I hope Ms Roy continues to inspire people across the world with her powerful books. Plus meeting her when she came to South Africa was phenomenal.
Eeek. (09/24/03)

I just read this book for my Global Lit class, and I must say that it is one of the finer pieces of literature I've read recently. Especially for one writing in one's second tongue, Roy's ease with the English language and her boldly innovative style are impressive. She really seems to revel in her mastery of the language. The plot was difficult to catch on to at first, and I was quite confused for a bit, but by the end the stray bits and pieces fit together perfectly. The coming together of the novel as a whole at the end is truly beautiful. This book is definitely one that I would recommend to any reader - looking simply for a good read or for a deeply profound exploration of Indian society and the nature of man.
Jose V (07/07/03)

“The God of Small Things” is a novel that should not be gauged by the standards set by the 20th Century English novelists. Because, it is a 21st Century novel, that just happened to be written in the 20th Century. And, though written in English, it is essentially an ‘Indian’ novel. It is not only the setting, but also the ideology, the theme, characters, the narrative technique, and most of all, the ‘feeling’, that is Indian - or to be more precise, Keralan. It is a daring attempt at bringing the regional life of India to the forefront. Thus, while it remains a postcolonial novel, it is also a novel that gives attention to the marginalized sects, and tries to contrast it with the ruling centre of the nation itself. However, it is better to read the book without reference to the non-fiction writings of the author that came out afterwards, on various topics like globalization, Narmada dam, nuclear bombs, war for peace, and the like. Because “The God of Small Things” is just a simple story about an unequal world seen through the eyes of the twins Rahel and Estha - who are the babes lost in the woods of adult justice. Ms.Roy does not try to bring in her personal convictions on social issues (which she does in her non-fiction writings) in this novel. It is not fair to judge the book by its language either. Because it is a new ‘english’; and not the English that we find in Victorian novels. But it is by no means an english that is incomprehensible. In fact, it is an english that could be ‘felt’, as it is true to life and comes straight from strong emotions. Standard English syntax will never be sufficient enough to express the glee, the agony, the confusion, and the rebellion of the twins who live the Aymanam life to the full. How can they escape the language and expressions of the native people, of themselves? And Arundhati Roy has succeeded in blending the two languages, and using her english as innovatively as possible - experimenting with its syntactical order, but never compromising on the semantic level. However, it would be a nice idea to provide a key to the Indian words. I have come across a lot of non-Indian readers who think that the plot is ‘strange’ and set in an ‘unfamiliar’ world. True. It is strange and unfamiliar to non-Indians. But what do they expect in a book that belongs to a nation and culture that they do not know well enough to consider it ‘normal’ and ‘familiar’? Well, I am an Indian, and I have read a number of books (American, British, Canadian, Australian, South African) which obviously do not have much in common with the life and culture that I have. And there is always the difficulty to follow regional expressions, variants of the language, slang and all. But I guess it won’t be fair if I judge the books merely on those aspects. Unfamiliar things become familiar once you try to open your mind and understand them, I believe.

If you really care for a truly rewarding reading experience, if you like to ponder over what you read, if you are ready to know the unknown, if you are an unprejudiced reader who does not try to ‘judge’ an author by her/his novels, if you know the difference between fiction and non-fiction, if you need to understand how myth, history and life are intertwined in the Indian consciousness, just try reading “The God of Small Things.”
go2yourlibrary (11/13/02)

Read for our book discussion group, WordsandFlava. Although this book was very visual, a few of the members questioned the repetitive (often disturbing) images. There seems to be no hope in this book, no idea of a better world to be--surprising in an author so active in the political scene. The members of our group that read it straight through in a marathon session were much more entranced than those who read it in bits and pieces.

One group member compared it to a Brueghel painting. Lots going on with no focus, no particular story or weight given to one thing. (Yes, I get it, small things...)

Good discussion but difficult at times.
monica gellar (10/07/02)

the book was pretty good but some parts seem to go on forever. She repeated phrases and words so often it got tiresome. To be honest, i had to force my self through the first few chapters. I was going to give up but was told it would get better. And near the very end, it did. It is written beautifully but some of it is a little over written and got quiet dull. overall its a interesting book with a surprise twist ending.
Saqlain Imam (08/17/02)

“The God of Small Things” is a lyrical narration. It cannot be English; only a free writer from South Asia can construct this narration. English writers are captive of their grammar and conventions. While most of the Indian, or even Pakistani, writers are captives of the captives, so they also cannot write with such freedom of imagination. That's all what Arun Dhati Roy has contributed in literature. Nothing more and nothing less. Her stance on nation-state, globalization and development is extreme and unviable. She is against globalization, but is one of the major beneficiaries of globalization (the sale of her book at the global level if she had not been picked up a British publisher); She is against nation-state but demands for the protection of the underprivileged of her society (only a nation-state can provide welfare blanket to poor people); She also talks against globalization, but supports its global agenda, which means she doesn't understand the current war of MNCs and the international multilateral agencies against the developing world. If nation-state state is demolished, globalizations will prevail. There are, effective or ineffective safety valves in the framework of a nation-state for weaker sections of a society, but there is no the remedy available to poor people if the institutions of the globalization rip apart the economies or societies of the third world. She is against the development of dam on Narbada river fearing the displacement of a large number of people. Is she fighting for the appropriate rehabilitation of the displaced people or simply doesn’t want the development and wants to preserve the antiquity? Development has its own cast and benefit ratio, which she doesn’t know. Perhaps she also doesn’t know the difference between “sustainable development” (an idea touted by the World Bnak and company) and perpetual development (an idea given by anti-Bank free thinkers). The God of Small Things may bless her!Text
ali abbas (08/17/02)

man the book is kool
a must read. i attended her lecture at the kanaird collage yesterday and have never seen such great women working for the destitute of the india... her stand at the narmada dam issue is outstanding and she wages war against the nuclearisation of the subcontinent. way to go
ali shah (08/17/02)

Arundhatti's book set in kerala is an exceptional fiction based on the irny and intensity of caste system in india. she is the most inspiring and audacious women ever. the 5 2'' and raised check-boned lady makes a great debut.

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