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The God of Small Things [Hardcover]

Arundhati Roy
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, 9 Jun 1997 --  
Paperback 6.29  
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Book Description

9 Jun 1997
Set against a background of political turbulence in Kerala, this novel tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel. Amongst the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother's factory they try to craft a childhood for themselves amidst what constitutes their family.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Flamingo; 1st Edition edition (9 Jun 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0002255863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0002255868
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (260 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 353,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Arundhati Roy is an award-winning film-maker and a trained architect. Her first novel, The God of Small Things, won the Booker Prize in 1997 and was a bestseller in more than two dozen countries worldwide.

Product Description

Amazon 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. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

'Richly deserving the rapturous praise it has received on both sides of the Atlantic!"The God of Small Things" achieves a genuine tragic resonance. It is, indeed, a masterpiece.' Observer '"The God of Small Things" genuinely is a masterpiece, utterly exceptional in every way, and there can be little doubt that posterity will place it very near the top of any shortlist of Indian novels published this century.' William Dalrymple, Harpers and Queen. '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 to its agonizing finish!it evokes in the reader a feeling of gratitude and wonderment.' New York Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 40 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
This is a fable of modern india played out through the lives of the central family - an india that is crippled by outer, inner and secret burdens: caste/social control, duty/tradition, and the essential heartbreaking element of this novel: taboo. The plot is impossible to delineate and is executed so adroitly and delicately that rather than just being told the story directly, you realise or suspect by degrees what is going on - much as it is when we might suspect our lovers are having an affair and we build up evidence not only from the present but even the distant past! And yet we remain unsure.

In order to accomplish this novel, Roy has had to pass the english language through a prism and bend it round corners, producing some of the most celestial prose I've ever read and some of the most haunting metaphors.

Within the family, issues of sexual abuse, bereavement and true love are hemmed in by taboo: they remain, as the title goes 'small things' with heartbreaking results, while all around the characters, there exists an india that is luscious and fragrant and well ordered by tradition.

However the sheer beauty of the prose carried me through to the end of the novel - leaving me not only genuinely grieving for this family, but also committed to trying to be more compassionate and understanding in my own life.
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55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth persevering with! 27 Feb 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Having read and heard lots of fairly negative reviews, I began this book rather apprehensively. And, seemingly like many other people, found it quite difficult to get into, and very nearly gave up after the first few chapters. I'm really not a fan of flowery language just for the sake of it, especially when it makes it difficult to understand what's going on properly! And I thought it was going to be one of those types of books. But then about halfway through, I started really getting into it.
The story jumps about a lot, with twins Estha and Rahel as children in parts and adults in other parts. But each chapter gives you a little clue at the beginning as to which era it is talking about. The twins as children have all sorts of little childish phrases, songs and thoughts that not only portray their playful innocence but also lend the reader a hint as to which period the chapter is currently in. Some reviewers have said that the jumping about in time made the story unnecessarily difficult to follow, and was done just for artistic prize-winning purposes, but I have to disagree. Had the story been told chronologically, it wouldn't have been anywhere near as atmospheric. There were parts of the book where the most important point to get across was the sheer sadness and melancholy. To have had a full prior knowledge of why the sadness was there would have jaded the scene with the reader's own reaction or interpretation of the preceding events. In real life when you meet people with a story or a history behind them, you meet the person and get to know their character first, and then the full story unfolds later on in bits and bobs, just like in this book. Also, that is the way it was for the twins - they didn't really understand the full horror and meaning of what had happened until they grew up.
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52 of 59 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Having read the reviews of others - I simply had to write to protest to comments like 'dull' and 'boring', 'couldn't finish it', 'maybe if I'd travelled in India' bla blah blah. Come on! I love nothing more than a good book - and this, I have to say folks, is one of the most beautifully executed books I have ever read. So much so that I can't think of anyone I know I haven't bought it for or lent it to. I think this author deserves full credit for her efforts and every writing prize there is going. I couldn't even begin thinking about how to write like that. She has a unique talent which I think so many others lack. If I were a writer - I would have wanted to be Roy and written this very book. Don't be put off by the negative reviews on this book - give it a chance. I stumbled on this book by chance - no-one had recommended it to me and I really am glad I picked it up. I don't think that this book is 'hyped' at all. It doesn't get its due credit - I've never read a book that has made me feel so strongly before. In terms of writing talent, it surpasses another of my favourite books - Memoirs of a Geisha - and thats saying something.
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29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a stunning, poetic first novel of tragic love. 13 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a haunting, poetic novel, utterly gripping in its inexorable description of the approaching tragedy that awaits its two main characters.
You know what is coming, and grieve for the passionate woman at the centre of the book, for her two children, for the lover, for the country that could allow this to happen, for the passionate at heart everywhere.
The language is lyrical and ringingly poetic: some of the images will stay with me for a long time. I was particularly taken by the writer's ability to take a child-like perspective at moments of intense emotion, to see from a child's eyes, yet to describe feelings which are simultaneously adult.
A stunning first novel; rich, intense, powerfully moving.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not fooled by randomness 26 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
Over-written and over-rated. Rarely have I read a more deserving candidate for the Robert Graves mantra of writing a piece of prose then deleting all of the adjectives. I find the style too clogged up to work effectively, and there is not enough character development to make the book's central events credible or engaging. Some of the detail is captured skilfully, but on other occasions the linguistic tricks are over used and lose impact as a result.I found myself speed reading the last seventy-five pages of this. I doubt it will stand the test of time.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writer
I've read a few of her books now and they are GREAT! A really good read - gives us an insight into a different culture but a shared humanity. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Pamela Chapman
4.0 out of 5 stars Heady, atmospheric and beautiful use of language...
I enjoyed reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Her writing is at times intoxicatingly beautiful. Read more
Published 1 month ago by John Goddard
3.0 out of 5 stars Not my cup of tea
I found it a bit too descriptive and a bit tiresome. I like to be emmersed in books. It's an ok read but I doubt i'd pick it up again any time soon
Published 1 month ago by Chantelle
5.0 out of 5 stars Kerale comes to Life
I read this book whilst on holiday in Kerala travelling around near Cochin and the village that features in the book. The whole story came alive for me because of this. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Alison Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars A Prose Poem of a Novel, With Bite
A prose poem of a novel, with bite. This Indian tale of love, loss, class and betrayal starts, against all the literary school advice, with the weather. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Stuart Aken
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Worth a read! Enchanting book that is worth a read. I would definitely recommend this product and service to a friend. Excellent!
Published 3 months ago by AJ
5.0 out of 5 stars one ENORMOUS poem
this book was like a very long beautiful poem. i couldn't put it down and when I finished, I was terribly sad and simply went back and re-read all the parts I had underlined. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Raquel Feeney
5.0 out of 5 stars "It's true. Things can change in a day."
Arundhati Roy expressed the subject sentiment several times throughout this superlative novel, and demonstrates how one singular devastating event can impact and collapse the lives... Read more
Published 4 months ago by John P. Jones III
4.0 out of 5 stars Life and the small things we do
An interesting and really sad book which highlights life as it was through re eyes of twins from childhood. Read more
Published 4 months ago by KathleenG
5.0 out of 5 stars beautifully written
my all time favourite book, this is so beautifully written that the words seem to dance off the page. i have lost count of the number of times i've read it... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Ms. V. A. Stewart
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