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Friday, 28 November 2014

Book Review- The God of Small Things- The book that can be read backwards

Author- Arundhati Roy
Title- The God of Small Things
I am in love with this woman
This novel is an assault on the senses. Every other page has blood, phlegm, sweat or hair on it and yet it reeks of a lavender fragrance. It would be unfair to call it an English novel for the language used is hardly recognizable as any known language. Yes, it has the spellings and grammar of English but it doesn’t follow the rules. It flows on its own and yet is easily understandable.

Roy weaves a tear-jerker tale with panache but wants you to hold your tears while reading it. The assault is so rapid and intense that your mind goes numb from it and there is no way you can pause and weep for the small losses of the small characters. The words are also complex. If you try to read it in a hurry, it will feel like not reading at all. And reading it is not fun, it is work. You have to stay alert. You don’t need your intellect to understand the complex scenarios as there are none. But you do need your brains to understand the pathos and the quirky characters. Roy talks about spit and sweat so much that it gets disgusting but slowly, you get used to it. She is not trying to evoke repulsion, it seems. She is just trying to help you get into the skin of the characters and what better way than to catch the emotions when they’re most vulnerable. Most of our vulnerable moments involve bodily fluids and that’s why the novel is gross. (Just an opinion)

One more beautiful feature of the book is that it can be read twice, it can be read backwards, it can be read in any way fathomable. It is a much planned novel and some lines make sense only after you are done reading the next chapter. The craft of writing is taken to a whole new level while writing this one. You don’t read it, you indulge in it, you enter its world and it doesn’t depress you when you are done reading it because, you take the novel with you. It sticks to your psyche and since it had no great suspense or twist of plot, but just a good story, it leaves a good aftertaste. It is a tragedy but the author oversees the proceedings with such craft that you marvel at the unfolding of events instead of rummaging through your heart for hoots to give.

Age no bar! How pretty can one look?


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