The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things

by Arundhati Roy
4.1 154

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The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The beloved debut novel about an affluent Indian family forever changed by one fateful day in 1969, from the author of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness


Compared favorably to the works of Faulkner and Dickens, Arundhati Roy’s modern classic is equal parts powerful family saga, forbidden love story, and piercing political drama. The seven-year-old twins Estha and Rahel see their world shaken irrevocably by the arrival of their beautiful young cousin, Sophie. It is an event that will lead to an illicit liaison and tragedies accidental and intentional, exposing “big things [that] lurk unsaid” in a country drifting dangerously toward unrest. Lush, lyrical, and unnerving, The God of Small Things is an award-winning landmark that started for its author an esteemed career of fiction and political commentary that continues unabated.

Praise for The God of Small Things

“Dazzling . . . as subtle as it is powerful.”—Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

“[The God of Small Things] offers such magic, mystery, and sadness that, literally, this reader turned the last page and decided to reread it. Immediately. It’s that haunting.”USA Today

“The quality of Ms. Roy’s narration is so extraordinary—at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple—that the reader remains enthralled all the way through.”The New York Times Book Review

“A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does.”—John Updike, The New Yorker

“Outstanding. A glowing first novel.”Newsweek

“Splendid and stunning.”The Washington Post Book World

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781588367839
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 12/16/2008
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 11,395
File size: 4 MB

About the Author

Arundhati Roy was trained as an architect. She has worked as a production designer and written the screenplays for two films. She lives in New Delhi. This is her first book.

From the Hardcover edition.

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God of Small Things 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 154 reviews.
SandyID More than 1 year ago
This book is skillfully written showing how difficult life can become for children and their parents when traditions and familiar things are changed forever as the influence of a great nation brings its own forms of education and traditions to bear on another great but politically weaker nation. The needs of the young and helpless must not be overlooked and dealt with harshly and indifferently in these circumstances, as the authoress cleverly and clearly portrays.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really don't understand where the bad reviews are coming from. In all honesty, this is not a light read, but its genius! Roy's syntax and diction further highlight the tradgic events of the story. It is dazzling - I couldn't put it down! I found myself thinking about it even when I wasn't reading it. It's perfect.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
The God of Small Things, the first (and so far, only) novel by Indian writer, Arundhati Roy, was written between 1992 and 1996. This (semi-autobiographical) story takes place in the village of Ayemenem and the town of Kottayam, near Cochin in Kerala, and is set principally during two time periods: December 1969 and 23 years later. The main characters are Esthappen (Estha) and Rahel, seven-year-old two-egg (i.e. non-identical) twins, and their mother Ammu. Ammu falls in love with Velutha Paapen, a Paraven (Untouchable) who works for the family’s Pickle Factory, a man the twins already list amongst their most-loved. But even in 1969, with a Communist Government, parts of India are still firmly in the grip of the Caste system. By breaking the "Love Laws," or "The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much”, Ammu and the twins set in motion “The Terror”. The manipulations of Ammu’s aunt, Baby Kochamma, are instrumental in bringing down The Terror, and her subsequent cruelty to Ammu and the twins will leave readers gasping.  As well as commenting on the Caste system and Class discrimination in general, the novel examines Indian history and politics, the taboos of conventional society, and religion. But more than anything, this is a story about love and betrayal.  The innocent observations of 7-year-olds, their interpretation of unfamiliar words and phrases, the (typically Indian) Capitalisation of Significant Words, the running together of and splitting apart of words , the phonetic spelling, all are a source of humour and delight in this novel. “It’s an afternoon-mare”, Estha-the-Accurate replied. “She dreams a lot”. Even as Estha is being molested by the Orangedrink Lemondrink man in the Abhilash Talkies, his observations (“Not a moonbeam.”) bring laughter. Echoes, repetitions and resonances abound. Roy is a master of the language: “So futile. Like polishing firewood.” Her prose is luminous. This novel is powerful, moving, tragic. Beautifully written, with wonderful word pictures. This novel demands at least two reads: once to learn the story; a second time to appreciate the echoes and repetitions and understand what the early references mean. It deserves a third reading to fully appreciate the prose, the descriptive passages. On this, my third reading, I read parts I would swear I had not read earlier. And I had tears in my eyes very early in the novel. I loved this book when I first read it: I love it even more now. I remain hopeful that Arundhati Roy will share her considerable literary talents with her eager readers in the form of another novel. 
Jennifer Wong More than 1 year ago
this is the second time I have read this amazing book. It is a difficult story to read but touches on the basis of hate, which is fear. The story is beautifically written and the reader is captivated from the beginning. It is a tragic story and the hero is Velutha the villian is the unhappy jealous family. I will read this book again.
GlassReader More than 1 year ago
I have had a love affair with this novel for over 10 years now. I read a lot and this novel stands in a class on its own. I have never read another novel that has come close to matching the grace of her delicious writing style. The story itself is small, but the words dance across the pages in a way that makes you stop and pause on the most beautiful ones. I could not put this book down. It is one of the very few novels that I continue to read over and over again and it saddens me that Arundhati Roy never wrote another novel of this kind.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I often re-read my favorite books, but the moment I finished this one I had to start from the beginning. Captivating and complex, it is a beautifully told story. I would recommend it to friends and family.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The one thing that stuck with me even after I read this book were the twins. They are so real to me that I feel everything they are feeling, I cherished all of the little sayings they had, the childish things they did and their relationship with their mother. They're so likable you feel like you know them. I read this book slowly because I wanted to capture all of the beautiful language of Mrs.Roy and the atmosphere she created and I recommend the same for you.
kaydeeKD More than 1 year ago
I had to force myself to finish this book. The author frequently switch from one time frame to another. In the end, it was an interesting story but the attention to detail made it a bit tedious to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A soon as I started to read God of Small Things, I felt it was going to be one of those books that I will never finish. Guess what? I did finish it. It was a bit confusing. The author sometimes went into great dept. Still, I must admit that this book had beautiful language at parts. Her description was great but not perfect. Estha and Rahel¿s ambassador titles were really funny!! I couldn¿t help feeling sorry for Ammu and the unfairness of the society she lived in. The author¿s greater message was very important. I don¿t regret reading it all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can understand how other reviewers found the book to be somewhat confusing and expansive but ultimatly I thought it was very well written and utterly haunting. I read the book once and although I understood the plot of the story I really only appreciated the nuances and detail after finishing it for the second time. Once you know what will happen in the novel, you can understand sentences that otherwise seem random and confusing. Ex. 'A young man with an old man's mouth' makes more sense once you realize the fate of one of the novel's characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Finishing this book is no easy task. Many have commented on the difficulty of keeping track of where in the timeline of the story one is at. This isn't made any easier by the sumptuous detail one has to sift through to make sense of things. Strangely, it remimded me of my experience reading Vonnegut's Slaughter House 5. The effort it took to read either of these works actually adds to the depth of the experience upon finishing. Much like her politics, Roy doesn't let her reader off the hook. The way she spins her web with her images is unique and unparalelled.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a book that, years after reading it, I still think about.
Devoynne Prophet More than 1 year ago
this is quite simply a MUST-READ. just do it. and then read it again. and then buy a copy for all of the readers in your life.
Lori Ann George More than 1 year ago
gorgeous. haunting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this book is intoxicating in a sense; the prose is rich and paints incredible pictures and characters. But it plays upon one theme and never fully explains it. The plot ping-pongs distractingly between present and past, and never does a full job of connecting the dots between the two. I got to the end feeling a bit cheated - all these gorgeous words and interesting characters, and what the heck happened? A better flashback/historical fiction book is "The Madonnas of Leningrad".
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the book. I loved reading about a period of India's history that I had not read before. I liked the way the book made me feel uneasy with some of the characters they are unpredictable and complex like most of us.
KyBorn More than 1 year ago
This book could have benefitted immensely from the pen of a skilled editor. There is a reason that the language of poetry is generally limited to shorter works - most people can't pull it off well and consistently for 320 pages. Roy is one of those people.
The adult characters in the book are completely underdeveloped. The only ones that seemed real at all were the childhood Rahel and Estha.
I find it interesting that many reviewers refer to Roy's artistic foreshadowing; to me it was not so much foreshadowing as shouting. It was not difficult to predict the general details of the climax within the first few chapters.
Danielle Champiet-Coronado 3 months ago
Arundhati Roy has changed the landscape of writing with The God Of Small Things. Once I started reading it, it was hard to put down. The story drew me into it. I love the vivid imagery and and strong emotions. The back-story of the characters unfolds simultaneously with the written story:
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