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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The God Of Small things-a reader's viewpoint.


"Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted. Imbued with new meaning. Suddenly they become the bleached bones of a story."

So intricately woven is this book, that one gets caught in the complexity of human emotions and fears. On one side, where you have young innocent minds arrested between the thoughts of an absent father, always over-bearing elders, a mother who clearly loved them but was caught up in her own complex world, but more so, they were perhaps, silently amused by their own connection. On the other hand, you had a mother, who single-handedly bore the brunt of all her youthful mistakes, took the jibes in her stride, who was charmed by her twins' playfulness, who could barely suppress the emotions in her heart that threatened to transcend the societal distinctions. Arundhati roy, very effectively and poignantly braids a story that surpasses all the barriers created by the public and otherwise. When once done with the last page of the book, you find you mind and heart, alike, lingering back in the deepest recesses of the human mind that the book has to offer. 
In brief, the book transcends back and forth in the past and present and is based in the *hot, brooding* Ayemenem area set in Kerala. It talks of a pair of fraternal twins, Rahel and Estha, who are separated at the age of seven and reunited when they are 31. The book is written from the point of view of the children and tackles the issues of communism, caste and the Keralite christianity, as seen through their eyes. The book, at large, is benignant to the emotions of the twins, as they suffer indifference at the hands of their relatives, owing to their Ammu's (mother) and Baba's (father) separation and also due to their friendly encounters with Velutha, their helper and also an untouchable. The primary theme of the book is love. The love Ammu bears for her twins, though she knows that times are to get difficult and she will have to forgo with one of them. The love that silently brews between Ammu and Velutha, which is clearly forbidden. In the abeyance of the silent nights, the beating hearts often looked for a gateway to be one. Arundhati roy has also mentioned the political realities in India, through satirical snippets. She is also critical of the traditional hypocrisy of Ammu's parents. 
The novel also brings to light the forbidden love that grows between the twins, Rahel and Estha. As twins, they always stood connected in a silent, unassertive way. When they re-unite after years of separation at the age of 31, wherein both have grown up to be silent, pained souls, it is perhaps their silence that speaks for them. In the end, it shows their love culminating into incest, which is forbidden love, alright. 
The beauty of Kerala, plays an important character in the book as well, as Arundhati Roy often draws her childhood memories of the place to create situations. As it shows in these lines..

"May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled by the sun.
The nights are clear, but suffuse with sloth and sullen expectation."

All In all, it was a Booker Prize well deserved.

3 comments:

WarmSunshine said...

an excellent book review... ill make sure to grab it on my next visit to the Readings :)

hey.... you can add this review to goodreads.com, it's so nicely written :)

The Silhouette said...

Hey, Hi
you just made me live through the whole book in a matter of minutes...

wonderful gal...

Regards,
The Silhouette...

Ajay Kontham™ said...

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