The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is an incredible novel, told with a lyricism that is at once evocative and provocative. Because of the way she tells the story, in a nonlinear manner, the narrative peels spirals around itself, returning to the same moments, repeating the same memories, but always with slightly deeper meaning.
The first time I read this novel I waited eagerly for her next novel. It never came. So when the Banned Books Club on goodreads chose to read this novel I couldn’t object. I was worried that it might not live up to my memories of its being a glorious story told perfectly. Even upon a second read, I appreciate the beauty of this novel. In fact, I honestly think I appreciate it even more.
In the first few pages, we are introduced to a large cast of characters but the primary ones are Estha and Rachel, dizygotic twins, and their mother Ammu. There is a tragedy about to happen; we know this too from the very beginning of the novel. The reader thinks it is one thing but the final tragedy is something else altogether.
And yet . . .
This novel is about love and redemption and how love heals. I remembered thinking that the last chapter in the novel was the most perfectly romantic and erotic piece of writing I had read in a long time. I confess I hesitated to reread it because I knew it would not stand up to the test of time. I was mistaken. It persevered and I was swept away, once again, by the events leading up to that final chapter.
Can you tell that I love this novel? It is a rarity to find a novel so perfectly crafted with a prose that is highly stylized that, upon rereading, doesn’t seem prosaic or ponderous. This novel is a jewel, a rare and rarified treat.
And still, I wait for Roy to write another . . .