The God of Small Things

Suzanna Arundhati Roy’s first novel ‘The God of Small Things’, published in the year 1997 has won the Man Booker Prize for fiction in 1997. It is also the best-selling fiction by a non expatriate Indian author. The novel is said to have certain autobiographical elements with the author. The book speaks about the politics in Kerala, the relationships, family and social obligations. The year in which the incidents happened, 1969, becomes the social and political development in the story. The story is told in the background of Ayemanam, a place in Kottayam district of Kerala with an explicit detail of a Syrian Christian Ipe family. Every of the incidents in the novel is beautifully scripted through non sequential narrative, that it is a mixture of past and present sequences.

‘The God of Small Things’ says the story of a Syrian Christian family whose life is led by the love laws, that is ‘who should be loved, how much. And how much’. It shows the innocent childhood life of fraternal twins, Rahel and Esthappen, from whose view point the story is told. The book starts with the funeral of Sophie mol, the cousin, who returned from England to Ayemanam. All the incidents that happened after the return of Sophie mol becomes the story. The novel explicitly speaks about the innocence in childhood days by showing the candid emotions of the twins and how a divorcee mother, Ammu, suffered under certain love laws kept by her family. Beneath all the drama in the family, the book opens about the untouchability existed, the history and the local politics quoting, ‘communist pacha which flourished like communism’.  The book is quite interesting as it stood close to the tradition and culture of Kerala. Probably this will be the greatest work to have an international reputation for using the normal Malayalam words and rhymes. Also, she kind of revolted against the untouchability and the unfair political system existed during 1960’s by openly revealing all those in her novel. Every matter that mattered the people were beautifully constructed and told but still there are criticisms which says that she has drawn much of the demerits of State. However, all her justifications can be justified since her words and story attracted people from all over the world and even some says Kerala is Arundhati Roy’s country!

The novel starts with the famous opening line “May in Ayemanam is a hot brooding month”, and that makes The Booker Prize Citation true “The book keeps all the promises that it makes”. It was an eye opener to every of the social and cultural life of Kerala which actually made every reader to think how much the present society has evolved and developed. The book has kept a goal of unleashing every of the illogical culture and traditions of Kerala, that no book could ever do as it is the only one. There are a lot of images and themes used in the novel apart from the family laws which left no scope of pointing out any flaws. Also, it gives us an opportunity to analyse the incidents and expressions she had written in the raw form. The book ‘The God of Small Things’ has personally inspired me that it makes me think about writing a novel. Like every other Indian, British and American reviews told, the story is ‘a masterpiece, utterly exceptional.’

Categories: Book Review, Literature