Arundhati Roy begins her first and only novel The God of Small Things, with what seems to be a short story or synopsis of events that effectively shape a young girls life. Through the narrative of seven-year-old Rahel, Roy more thoroughly goes on to describe the conflict and tragedies of Rahel’s family, including her twin brother Estha, lonely but loving mother Ammu, violin playing grandmother Mammachi, Marxist Uncle Chacko and Enemy Aunt Baby Kochamma.
The two-egged twins Rahel and Esthma are greatly affected by the visit of their English cousin Sophie Mol, during the Christmas 1969. During the visit Sophie dies due to an accidental drowning in the presence of Rahel and Esthma. The tragedy continues as the secret love affair between Ammu and her lover of a separate and lower caste Velutha is discovered, resulting in Velutha being brutally killed.
The story will force readers to continue to keep the pages turning as it includes more drama then anyone can imagine. The use of a seven year old as a narrator for most of the novel allows readers to witness very mature and somewhat grotesque incidents, through the innocence and bluntness of a child’s interpretation. The story includes more elements then any novel I have read, as elements sexuality, incest, death and racism ooze through the pages. Good things definitely come in small packages, as themes of love, tradition, and post-colonialism are all evident in these 321 pages. Arundhati Roy, although has moved on to work as an activist in her home country of India definitely can write in a way that keeps audiences captivated. The God of Small Things is absolutely a winner in my books as well as the winner of The Booker Prize in 1997, which Roy in my perspective was well deserved.