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Customer Review

90 of 100 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well worth persevering with!, 27 Feb. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The God of Small Things (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. It was a way of showing how the events shaped the twins' lives gradually as they grew to see the significance of each event, without the writer having to spell it out.
It is true that a good story makes a great read, and there are times when over-descriptiveness and too many metaphors can spoil a book and make it boring. But in this case, for me at least, the metaphors combined with the repetitiveness of silly childish chants and phrases made the atmosphere and ambience of the book just right. It also succeeded in bringing me right into the feeling of childhood, with Bar Nowls and Lay Ter (dum dum).
I have to agree with the more positive critics, that this book IS beautifully written. It definitely left me thinking about it for ages afterwards, with each little scene left swimming about in my head for me to daydream away to! I thoroughly enjoyed it, and am now feeling a bit lost until I get stuck into another good book.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 31 Mar 2017, 09:51:23 BST
Last edited by the author on 31 Mar 2017, 10:28:19 BST
Hungry Joe says:
A very good point. I believe Ernest Hemingway opined that a good way to write is to start and then throw away the first two chapters! I came down with a CFS illness some years ago and in trying to write down the unravelling of it had difficulty describing the process because I became ill first, and then my online searches relied on eventually recalling similar phases of exhaustion as a child. On remembering being put into isolation with 'suspected polio' I connected it with major dental work previously. After two years of regular searching on CFS one day I put in: 'CFS +mercury' and encountered an unprecedented number of positive stories relating to neurotoxic the toxic effects and recovery from CFS. Explaining to my GP that I needed a test to eliminate the possibility brought a tidal wave of of scepticism, 'long term mental health problems' diagnosis and absolute refusal to test on the basis that 'it would be wasting £100'. Still desperate for some functionality I found a reliable treatment online and adopted the relevant diet described, losing most of my worst symptoms just in that small personal test and going on to a better treatment with a nutritionist with a track record in that field. What snookered me every time with GPs, aside from the damning diagnosis in my notes (leaving me with considerable expense after losing my job) was the impossibility of explaining how I came to make that search, given the short consultations we have now. In fact it seems to be a pattern - we walk in, mention symptoms and more often than not we are out the door with a 'psychosomatic' diagnosis. History and context appear to have no place or valency in modern medicine. In trying to write out my history later I did encounter a major problem in describing my search success and how it gradually arrived. I think you clarified the issue nicely for me. In fact I had some years' experience experience both as nurse and a lab tech that never got mentioned. Incidentally mercury is not the cause of CFS. It simply puts an increasing load on those with a pre-existing mitochondrial dysfunction producing low ATP levels. Anyone with CFS reading this should certainly have amalgam fillings removed before anything else. There will be a residue left to deal with) For my trouble, and lack of opportunity to explain history I was repeatedly treated as a tin foil hat wearer. Anyone wanting to reference chronic fatigue in a common sense way should probably look for Erica White's books as a first read. The issues are nicely set out. Yes I'm well off the review issue here. No apologies. I wasted years tracking down a sensible approach to CFS and current NHS treatment is appalling to say the least, so I post this information whenever the opportunity arises in the hope it may help someone.
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