A Tale of Details

This week has been unusually light on work, so I thought I’d get some decent reading done. That being said, my first finished read of the week is a book I started last week (and should have finished in time for class. Whoops?), The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. As Roy and her book come from India, that makes it an around-the-world challenge book!

Book cover of The God of Small Things, 1997.

One of my first thoughts after reading: this book is not for everyone. If you have a weak stomach, you might not like some of the descriptions nor the subject matter.

I won’t go into too much detail about the plot, but I’ll tell you that though it seems hard to follow, it will make sense once you read the whole book. The God of Small Things takes place in Aymanam, a location now known as a part of Kottayottam in Kerala, a southern state of India, and revolves around a family composed of divorcee Ammu and her twins Rahel and Estha. The timeline continuously jumps around from the 1960s to the 1990s, so the reader makes discoveries along with the characters, who are sometimes unable to see the cause-and-effect pattern. The main incident happens when Ammu’s brother Chacko comes to visit, bringing along his wife Margaret and their daughter Sophie, who is about the same age as the twins. Thirty years later, the family is once again faced with the ghosts that haunt their pasts, as well as an unexpected reunion.

This was Arundhati Roy’s debut as a novelist, and ever since, she’s only written nonfiction. What has been more notable about Roy, however, has been her political activism. In class, we watched a short film about her participation in protesting the creation of a dam that would displace a half million people as well as fail to provide for more irrigation/fresh drinking water. I’m not sure how I feel about Roy; I want to like her, but the film made her come off as pretty militant.

It’s hard to discuss this novel without going into the plot, and since that would give away the ending, suffice it to say that the proof really is in the details.


3 thoughts on “A Tale of Details

  1. I read this book when I was 17 & didn’t enjoy it. I came back to it a couple of years later & loved it. Roy’s language is so intricate, it’s beautiful. But tough subject matter indeed.

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