Saturday, February 22, 2014

Book Thoughts: "The God of Small Things" by Arundhati Roy

It's rare that a book sticks in my head, with lines of it resurfacing in quiet moments before bed or while driving (it's always silent while I drive, a story for another time), but this book has refused to leave me alone:

From the outside it looks surprisingly pleasant, but I assure you it is not. Not a whole lot happens in terms of plot: a pair of twins is reunited 24 years after being separated due to their involvement in two people's deaths, and the book alternates between the events leading up to their separation as children and their meeting again as adults. If the story had been told in any other way I would have lost interest, as there's nothing here I haven't seen before but, my god, the way this story is told.

The God of Small Things is like poetry. Words, phrases, and images circle back on each other and develop as you read, lulling you into the book's world and bestowing a sense of flow, even beauty, to the many heinous things that occur. It's mentioned at one point early on that memory tends to rush past large sections of out lives and linger extra long in a few select places, and the story is told similarly. Weeks are rushed over or skipped entirely, while a few hours will take up almost one third of the book. Many of the sentences are cut off, words and ideas presented as if they're simply rising up from the bedrock of memory. It's stunning.

I got this while out shopping with a friend. She said I would love the writing style, but failed to mention that's all I'd find to like. Like I said before, if this same story had been told in any other way, I wouldn't even be talking about it anymore. But I read The God of Small Things several weeks ago, and here I am still talking.

Title: The God of Small Things
Published: 1998, HarperCollins
Pages: 340
Would Recommend: Yes, if you're up for reading something heartbreaking and gorgeous. WARNING! This book does contain a scene of child molestation, so if this is a trigger for you, you may want to stay away.

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