Here is my long pending review on The God of Small Things. Though I was a little skeptical through the first few pages, the description of the story through the eyes of children got me all geared up.
The God of Small Things narrates the story of a divorcée mom Ammu who raises her twins Estha and Rahel in her family estate in Ayemenem. Her brother Chacko is the family’s new head and her aunt spews contempt towards her divorced niece and her kids. Chacko, a party member of the Communists, in 1970s the post Independence era, is pining over his daughter Sophie Mol who grows up at England.
Ammu is a free spirit and is not ready to live as an outcast in her own father’s house. Does she find a new love? And how does her respectable family accept it? Esther does not talk anymore. What happened in the childhood that changed their lives forever?
The story alters between the present day and flashback. The tragic tale is supported by the strong and poetic prose. Roy draws out the lives of Indians in the 1970s in a lucidly. The political scenario and the caste system were depicted honestly.
Roy has compensated the strong voice about the big picture well with the smaller things. Even though the big picture didn’t end up so well for the family or the twins, as long as the small things were in place, everything was okay to the kids. The concept of forbidden love might put off some people, though it makes so much sense.
Small Things like the way she had described “Accurate Estha”, “Thimble drinker Sophie Mol”- made the reading enjoyable. The way the children read the words backward reminded my childhood nostalgically, I wonder if everyone went through the same phase. There were several places that I had people staring at me because I was grinning too much, while reading the book in public places. Especially the innocence of the children in reasoning the death of Ms Mitten, about Rahel being loved but a little bit lesser etc.
If you want to read about the intricate lives of the Indians in 1970s, The God of Small Things could be your choice. If you love The Virgin Suicides, you will love this.