The God of Small Things – Initial Thoughts

While we are in training at office, every instructor starts by asking, “What are your expectations from this session?” Most of the time the answer is: We came with an open mind.

When I ordered The God of Small Things via Kwench, I did so with an open mind. I did not know what the book was about. I did not even read the book extract. I had heard the name of the book often and that it was famous. “So, let’s read it!” That was the thought.

Since I had no prior information as to the narrative and structure of this book, it caught me off guard. The adjectives are creative and new, certain non-noun words italicized. It felt like poetry. With the first chapter, I felt I had been forced inside the private life of a family, without even getting to know the family-members first. By the first chapter we know bad things have happened. The following chapters build on to that bad thing that happened.

The capitalization jagged my reading – I saw no sense in it. Eventually, I Googled the reason. Turns out the story is told through the limited point of view of a young girl. After I figured that out, the voice in the story felt much more natural.

When you read this book you realize that the young twins through whom this story is told are very sensitive to the visuals, smells and emotions around them. That’s why the adjectives hit you so hard. That said, I wondered if it is not beyond the a young mind to be so perceiving of the world around them, especially in such poignant details. Was the author trying too hard?

The God of Small Things is definitely one of those books which make you choose sides: you either like it or you don’t. That’s why it has got both one star and five star reviews. If you’re someone who likes experimental writing, disjointed narrative with jumping time-frame, totally uncommon adjectives to describe normal, commonplace events and emotions, you can’t help but fall in love with Roy’s masterpiece.

If you’re into reading to take your mind off things, relax yourself, get yourself a different book. This book has the potential to knock you off the edge and leave you hanging, disturbed and with a book-shaped hole in the universe of your mind.

11 thoughts on “The God of Small Things – Initial Thoughts

  1. Vamagandhi

    Haha! “Book-shaped hole”. You read her intimately for sure. If anybody wishes to use right phrases and words, Arundhati Roy is a must read. I still keep plagiarising her phrases. But, true! Book needs a mature reader. I read it once when I was some 18 or something, and was almost claustrophobic in the middle looking for fresh air. But, when I read it again at 35 with a no-strings-attached view, I must have read some phrases again and again, to put it somewhere in my grey matter of brain if I could use them later.

    Nice initial review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Arpita Post author

      Thank you, Vama! I borrowed this book from Kwench and now I think I must buy a copy too. This book is one-of-a-kind and whether I like it or hate it at the end, I think there will be no other book with such distinct writing style. Hence, for a aspirant writer like me, it is a must-have.


  2. Anand

    Thanks for the review, Arpita. I often think about these books that explode on the scene suddenly – making you think if you are an idiot to not feel drawn towards reading them. This was one of the books that made me feel like that…but your review tells me that I did the right thing. Such books aren’t my cup of tea – cardamom or otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Anand

        I usually stay loyal to authors I read regularly, but every once in a while, a book is shoved under my nose and I am asked to read it (wifey is the worst offender) – It usually sits among my programming books, until I’m asked to return it.

        Liked by 1 person

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