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The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
Southern India 1969. Here, armed only with the invincible innocence of children, Rahel and Esthappen fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family: their lonely, lovely mother, who loves by night the same man her children adore by day...their blind grandmother, who plays Handel on her violin...their beloved un...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780060977498
ISBN-10: 0060977493
Publication Date: 5/1/1998
Pages: 336
  • Currently 3.6/5 Stars.

3.6 stars, based on 468 ratings
Publisher: Perennial
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio Cassette, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The God of Small Things on + 403 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 12
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 + 686 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Congratulations to anyone who finished this book. You are a better person than me! I thought it was horrible, the writing was hard to follow, the characters were uninteresting and the dialogue could not be slower. I understand that it got great reviews and won awards for its literary genius, but it was lost on me. I think the more awards the further I should stay away from it, the flowery description and wordy intros to the norm are not necessary and to me are a waste of the readers time. If you want a story that is intersting and gets to the point so you can care about what happens next, leave this one go, if you are into the fowery text and the long flowing sentences about one small item not essential to the book, then grab ahold and become bored. I made it 59 pages and it felt like 590! I can't waste my time on books that don't interest me and carry on forever about what I consider nothing. As you can tell I was highly disappointed by the professional and literary reviews on a book that I felt didn't come close to the mark.
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reviewed The God of Small Things on + 975 more book reviews
Incomprehensible, stream-of-consciousness novel unmoored in time, apparently about a pair of Malaysian twins. If I'd read the "Faulknerian" blurb on the bacover before ordering it, I wouldn't have bothered in the first place.
reviewed The God of Small Things on + 2 more book reviews
You will never forget this story, told from the viewpoint of a child. Written in a unique style.
reviewed The God of Small Things on
I enjoyed this novel. I like fiction that shows how it is in other times and places. This story follows a family of two children and their mother. Their home life is complicated by the absence of the father, the relationship the children develop with an uncle, and what happens when his wife and daughter visit from England. The children's lives are much enriched by their close friendship with a man of much lower caste: their relationship with him makes up for a lot of losses in their family. I enjoyed a story in which children have a good, healthy, loving relationship with an adult male. Of course there's tragedy and torment; it's a post-modern, post-Colonial novel.

The writing is very good. There are some stylistic mannerisms I could have done without, but overall good writing. I'd recommend this book to anyone who's interested in family dramas in exotic locations.

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