As a 15-year-old, I never knew books could carry feelings inside them. Among the hundred books my father had collected in our library, ‘God Of Small Things’ was one.
I took a glance at the green cover and wondered if a book that looks as simple as this one can ever heal the lacerations of one’s heart. I casually started reading the book; it was the first time I was on a verge of reading a novel seriously. Little did I know that every sentence in this book is an answer to a question that pops up in the reader’s mind.
The Beauty of The Story
The story happens to begin with the beautiful description of the non-descript town Ayemenem in Kerala, narrated in the chapter ‘Paradise, pickles and preserves’. I was mesmerised from the very first page itself. The best part of the book is how beautifully writer Arundhati Roy put together the past and the present simultaneously.
Rahel comes to meet her ‘dizygotic twin’ brother Estha after years of separation, at the same time the twins attend their cousin Sophie Mol’s funeral with her absent eyes at a yellow church when they were just seven, and Sophie Mol would forever be nine.
The beauty of this book is how every single line has a connection with some other line placed miles away on a different page. Every character has an important role to play even if they pretend to play a side role in someone else’s story. History-Science-Communism-a taste for fish and strange love for eyeballs, every character leaves the readers with an imprint of various untold tales.
A Melange of the Tiniest Ingredients
This simple story surrounding a typical Indian household throws light to the problems that we all are surrounded by, but yet fail to notice. The kids lived at their grandparent’s home in Ayemenem along with their mother (Ammu) after their parents got divorced. Their grandmother (Mamachi) was physically abused by her husband (Papachi) until their uncle Chacko arrives in India after his wife (Margaret Kochamma) leaves him. Their family also had Baby Kochamma (their grandfather’s sister) and Kochu Maria, the vinegar-hearted, short-tempered, cook described by the narrator.
Every character’s story has a captivating place inside the book that describes their life in details in limited words., Like how Ammu flew away from the world dominated by the society, to the circumstances that made her come back; to how Chacko checked every detail of his newborn daughter with a torch before leaving for India. The narration revolves around the simplest details – be it the description of the ceiling or the jars placed in the kitchen. Every tiny element has been narrated as a silent ode to the surroundings.
What makes God of Small Things special
‘The great stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thriller and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are familiar as the house you live in, or the smell of your love’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t’. – Arundhati Roy.
The voice inside the reader’s mind translates into connecting the untraded dots of the first page in the last. The essence of the book is such that we are already aware of the story without reading it. It’s a story we all are a part of. It’s a story of our life told through someone else.
The narration goes ahead to elucidate how societal taboos eliminate consent in one’s life, or how caste decides whether you are eligible to be loved or not. The story also speaks about Marxism and its impact on the people who are least aware of it.
The narration also focuses on a child’s point of view and how their feelings are often taken for granted The perpetuated notion is that children are bound to obey what elders say even if they are wrong. Every description in the book is a crisp bloom of feelings and words left for the readers to attach with the unsolved puzzles.
The way the book ends leaves a tragic void in the mind of the readers not because the ends fail to meet, but the union of two souls happens ethereally. Readers are well aware of this not being an illusion but a part of the story that is not the end.