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Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things

Finished reading The God of Small Things, and am now a soppy sobbing mess. Beautiful book. Beautiful beautiful book. Difficult to describe, but so very beautiful.

It's ... what can I say? How can I describe or explain it?

It's a book about two twins, a brother and sister, and the events that occur during their childhood in India. Specifically, the events that occur over one particular period of a couple weeks. Or on one particular day. It's about their relationships with their mother, the rest of their family, their friends, and their environment, all deeply steeped in Indian culture. It's about their secret stories they create, their secret worlds, their secret languages, their secret selves. It's about childhood and the loss of childhood, innocence and the loss of innocence. It's about their love for each other, for their mother, and for a select few others. It's about the quiet desperate fear that tinges that love.

It's extremely non-linear, most often circling, spiralling, swooping like a kite toward truth. Poetic. Sometimes rhythmic, with thoughts and images and phrases repeating like verses of a song at unpredictable and yet perfect intervals. Deeply sensual in its exploration of the physical experience of nature, childhood, love, and fear. Everything has a taste, a scent, a whisper, a softness or roughness to the touch. Everything is dense and corporeal and real, and yet everything is simultaneously part of a whirling kathakali storytelling dance, full of metaphor and meaning.

In the final analysis, it's a book about "the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much."

In the final analysis, it's a book about love, a book which manages to somehow communicate the actual visceral feeling of love, with all its accompanying hope and pain and fear and loss.

In the final analysis, I really don't think it can be summarized well. It's just not that kind of simple book.

God I'm glad I stuck with it.


I'm a mess. Need to go blow my nose.

I highly recommend the book. Highly.

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Comments

( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
merkuria_lyn
Jan. 6th, 2004 02:06 am (UTC)
That's really it. Beautiful summary of a beautiful book...

I read The God of Small Things a few years ago and I remember the ending as incredibly powerful. When I read it I was not quite sure what to make of it but on the last few pages it was as if everything just fell into place in such a beautiful way. All the things that I previously couldn't quite relate to suddenly came together in such clarity that it moved me to tears.

**digs around in bookshelf to find and re-read the book**
kimberly_a
Jan. 6th, 2004 02:37 am (UTC)
It's definitely one I will want to re-read, as well. Some books just cry out for that kind of attention.
run_atreyu
Jan. 7th, 2004 01:53 am (UTC)
Congrats on getting through it, hun ;o)

I am actually really glad that I can scarcely recall what happens in the book, as it means the reread will be fantastic (when I get round to it). All I really remember was that at some point in the book I was suddenly dragged right into it and fell hopelessly in love. I wasn't intending to read it again for a long time, but I loved it so much I bought a copy (I haven't bought many books in adulthood, only those I've really loved).

I will always remember my reaction to the end of the book, though. I was at work, and it was lunchtime. I finished it and was just so completely overcome that I went outside, intending to go for a walk. I started running, and then took my shoes off and just flew till I found a park slightly outside the city. The people in the central city were looking at me like a crazy person - and fair enough, too. You don't often see shoeless running folk barrelling through the downtown area. It was raining a bit, and it was just so beautiful and so upsetting and so *everything*. That was one great moment, and I've never had such a powerful reaction to a book. I don't think I cried because there were too many emotions and none of them could get past the others to be the winner. I really felt it though. I felt it everywhere.

I'm very glad you loved it too. I also hope your nose doesn't get raw from all the tissues!

Take care,
Helen
( 3 comments — Leave a comment )

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