It’s been a long time since I reviewed a book that wasn’t sent to me to review! Today’s review is on The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. I had to read it for uni and people on instagram and tumblr were VERY praiseful about this book, so I became really curious!
The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, fraternal twins Esthappen and Rahel fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family. Their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu, (who loves by night the man her children love by day), fled an abusive marriage to live with their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), and their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt). When Chacko’s English ex-wife brings their daughter for a Christmas visit, the twins learn that things can change in a day, that lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever, beside their river…
So, a lot of people were really positive about this book and some even said that it was their all time favourite! I must admit that I didn’t feel that way. Yes, it was very beautifully written, there are sentences I had to read twice, just because of the beauty in them. But because of all the metaphors and the context I didn’t know the first thing about, I didn’t really get what the story was about for a really big part of it. I found the jumping in time, from past to present to past, very confusing at times. Sometimes I didn’t know if a scene was taking part in the past or in the present and when I thought I knew, I was wrong.
Although you get to know a lot of little details about the lives lived in the novel, I didn’t get the feeling that I got to know the people behind the lives that well. In order, for me, to love a story, I have to be able to somewhat identify myself with the characters and this wasn’t exactly the case with Estha, Rahel and the others. I’m really curious about the discussion behind the book, so I’ll definitely look up some articles and theories later!
I know that when I’m going to reread the book in the future, I will love the story a little more, but for now the story was too confusing and too abstract for me to really love it. But then again: I had this exact feeling with Lolita the first time I read it and today I call that my all time favourite work of literature. Soooo, there’s hope!