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The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
In 1969, Rahel and her twin brother Estha, who learn that their whole world can change in a single day, that love and life can be lost in a moment. Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, they seek to craft a childhood for themselves amid the wreckage that constitutes their family. Sweet and heartbreaking, ribald and profound, this...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780006550686
ISBN-10: 0006550681
Publication Date: 5/5/1998
Pages: 339
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.

4 stars, based on 34 ratings
Publisher: Harpercollins Pub Ltd
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The God of Small Things on + 407 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 11
This is one of the most brilliant and beautifully written (although painful) novels I've ever read -- although not an easy read. Arundhati Roy is a master of language --- and of slowly enchanting the reader in a nonlinear plot that is both mystifying and compelling.

Readers might want to be aware that there are free online guides to the book at,, and - all are a great help in reading and understanding it! Be sure to google the title, as there are also a few excellent articles online on the book. The character lists provided by the study guides are helpful, but some contain spoilers. You may want to create to create a character/genealogy chart identifying each character as she appears and his/her relationship to the others. I've created and posted a genealogical chart here:
I've created one and posted it at:

I'm also teaching the book in continuing ed in the Boston area, both in a literature course and a creative writing course focusing on imagery, simile and metaphor. Please message me if interested in either one.
Tracy Marks
reviewed The God of Small Things on + 79 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 9
Absolutely amazing, must-read! Roy tells the story in backwards order and it's just fascinating.
reviewed The God of Small Things on + 23 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This is an incredible book, and just like the river that is so central to the haunting yet beautiful lives of the main characters. The prose will catch you up and carry you along in its flow, while the story meanders and ebbs and flows -- sometimes tranquil, and sometimes fast and furious. Wow.
reviewed The God of Small Things on + 113 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
Roy is an amazing story-teller and wordsmith. Her exotic descriptions are vivid, haunting and her rendering of children's thoughts and habits very life-like. The non-linear plot has you a bit confused at first but once you settle into the rhythm of the book, you enjoy each chapter as it comes, expecting the story to unfold to finally tell you what "terror" the book hints at all along. Roy is a gifted writer and well worth your time. I will definitely seek other books by her.
reviewed The God of Small Things on
Helpful Score: 3
A marvelous story told in an intriguing manner! She captures the thought processes of the children beautifully! I had never heard of this author, but I will look for other books by her.
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reviewed The God of Small Things on + 6 more book reviews
I have always been fascinated with India and I love this book. Truly beautiful, powerful and disturbing story. I'm swapping the paperback version because I bought the hardback for my permanent collection.
reviewed The God of Small Things on + 5 more book reviews
I've never read anything like The God of Small Things before. The words, the phrases, the structure - all fresh and alive. After reading such magnificent prose, I feel like my writing has changed. I feel like I'm no longer bound by the usual, common sense rules of writing. In this, Arundhati Roy is a genius.

Paragraph by paragraph, the story is stunning and beautiful. I felt transformed into a child again, where words run together and ordinary things have extraordinary meanings. The composition of the novel was unlike anything I've encountered, or even imagined was possible.

It's as if Arundhati Roy wrote the story chronologically on a deck of playing cards, then threw them in the air and constructed the book as she gethered the cards in her hands. The tale is out-of-order, and not in the usual way. While reading, I remained in awe of this new kind of storytelling. At the same time, though, I often managed to get lost and had to turn back a few pages to find my way again. What makes this story brilliant also makes it difficult and sometimes exhausting.

Another interesting aspect of the writing is that you know the outline within the first chapter. There is no suspense for what is coming, but rather how it comes. The reader is taken back and back again to the same events, but is given more knowledge and detail with each revisit. I would almost say that this is a novel best read a second time.

Rating this book is difficult. I feel like it should be read for the extraordinary language and unique construction rather than for pure leisure. It is a must-read if you're a writer or aspiring writer, but probably okay to skip if you aren't
reviewed The God of Small Things on + 11 more book reviews
The author has chosen an interesting approach to this novel. There are many stories in the story, and to confuse us even more the author chose a flashback narrating style. We enter the story in the 1990'ies as the young woman named Rahel returns to her village (in a small town in Kerala, in India) to be reunited with her twin brother Esthahappen (shortened Estha), whom she hasn't seen in many years. (That being said, the story in "God of Small Things" is set for the most part during the 1960's.)

Two of the lead characters are the fraternal twins Estha and Rahel. They are bonded (unusually) close, so close that they think of themselves as "Me", and when separated as "We" or "Us", this to their family's great frustration. Told from the childrens point of view, the story centers on the story of the twins' childhood, the tragic death of their English cousin, why Estha stopped speaking, to mention something, but not too much.

There are many interesting characters in this book, and several of them has a great potential, such as Grandma Mammachi, Grandaunt Baby Kochamma, the handyman Velutha (another important character), Ammu etc. Unfortunately, with a few exceptions, few of them are very well developed.

It is not often I almost put a book down, but I almost gave up with this one. Arundhati Roy's prose and writing style is unusual, and I enjoyed this novel for its prose more than for the story. I was never sure where the author was headed with the story. This left me confused. On top of that, I am sure that I missed some of the metaphors, as well.

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