The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

I'm tempted to cut together the three and a half pages of acclaim in my copy of The God of Small Things, because it's hard to find the words to do justice to such a delicacy.

The God of Small Things is a story about an Indian family told from the third person perspective. At the centre of the narrative are Estha and Rahel – the two egg twins – who share an unusual bond and who observe the disintegration of their childhood one summer as they lose their best friend, their young English cousin and each other.

The God of Small Things transports the reader to a universal childhood of logic based on rhymes, perplexing adult behaviour, invention, mimicry, popularity anxiety and shifting obsessions with famous people, toys, and 'looks'. Repeated motifs thread the narrative together, and the playful language is both joyous and quietly affecting, provoking feelings that are almost melancholic.

At its heart, The God of Small Things asks a simple question – one that could easy pass the lips of a child: What makes you different from me? Roy proffers an inobtrusive interrogation of the Indian caste system, which is all the more powerful for its sincerity and lack of judgement. Having painted a picture of a two individuals that are irrevocably broken, the author asserts that not all stories have a happy ending. The sting in the tail, for me, is just how beautiful unhappiness can be.


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