The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

Haunting. Roy’s story focuses on Rahel and Estha, a pair of “two-egg twins” and how their lives were affected by one terrible incident. Over the course of the story, we learn about all the different factors and events that contributed to this tragedy, referred to as “the Terror” in the story.

 

Roy writes beautifully, but she’s one of those Effect-Cause writers (a term that I just made up right now). At the very beginning of the story, she describes a little girl’s funeral, but takes the entire book to tell us exactly how the girl died. This was a little frustrating, and by the time I actually learned how the girl died, the event had been built up so much that it was almost underwhelming. But it was still an incredible story.

“Estha had always been a quiet child, so no one could pinpoint with any degree of accuracy exactly when (the year, if not the month or day) he had stopped talking. Stopped talking altogether, that is. The fact is that there wasn’t an ‘exactly when.’ It had been a gradual winding down and closing shop. A barely noticeable quietening. As though he had simply run out of conversation and had nothing left to say. Yet Estha’s silence was never awkward. Never intrusive. Never noisy. It wasn’t an accusing, protesting silence as much as a sort of estivation, a dormancy, the psychological equivalent of what lungfish do to get themselves through the dry season, except that in Estha’s case the dry season looked as though it would last forever.”

Verdict: four out of five stars

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