Book Reviews of God of Small Things

God of Small Things
God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
ISBN-13: 9780613621410
ISBN-10: 0613621417
Publication Date: 7/2003
Rating:
  • Currently 4.5/5 Stars.
 2

4.5 stars, based on 2 ratings
Publisher: Rebound by Sagebrush
Book Type: School Library Binding
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

82 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

reviewed God of Small Things on + 401 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 gradesaver.com,shmoop.com, litchart.com and wsu.edu - 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: http://www.windweaver.com/literature/gost.png

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
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Helpful Score: 9
Absolutely amazing, must-read! Roy tells the story in backwards order and it's just fascinating.
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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.
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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 God of Small Things on + 685 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.
reviewed God of Small Things on + 17 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
I had a hard time with this book. I liked the unusual, non-linear style in theory, but had a hard time staying with it. It's an unique way to go about a common seeming plot, but I felt that the style and language actually detracted from my experience.
reviewed God of Small Things on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Beautiful language and a haunting tale of love and loss. Read it for a book group and all of us had praise for the book. Roy's first novel and a Mann Booker prize winner.
reviewed 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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Helpful Score: 2
This is the story of boy-girl twins growing up in India. Blessed by a family of moderate wealth, but cursed by a missing father and relatives who take them in as a duty, but share no love with them. Full of colorful descriptions of their life as seen by the children, their mother and others. Contains an illicit love affair and a sad end of all things, blessed only by the God of Small Things. Winner of the Booker Prize.
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Helpful Score: 2
A little slow, cumbersome at first, but beauty unfolds as does creative strength.
reviewed God of Small Things on + 410 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
This book was absolutely breath-taking. I can't praise this author enough--her artistry is spectacular. If you enjoy novels by Indian novelists, you can't afford to miss this one.
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Helpful Score: 2
I am so thankful I got to read this book. Roy is a stunning author who plays wonderfully with her words, which she calls the "graphic design of language." All her descriptions and the words that she chooses to use are unique and memorable. Beyond that, the story is poignant, heartbreaking, and will incite you to tears of hopelessness and yells of fury, all the while sticking with you. Highly recommended.
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Helpful Score: 2
Wanted to like this but couldn't get into it. I'm sure some would enjoy her descriptive writing but I found it too meandering.
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Helpful Score: 2
This book was a terrific read (that started a little slow) and had a few diversions along the way. I loved the story and the characters and (based on Roy's development efforts) felt a close personal connection to each. The writing was wonderful and the "package" very neatly (albeit in a round about way) tied up in the end.
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Helpful Score: 2
This novel is simply a work of literary genius. Roy couples an intriguing story along with Indian culture and values to create one of the best novels of the last century. One need not be familiar with Indian culture to enjoy the book, but it does help to know that India has a caste system which largely prohibits the mingling of certain peoples.

Her prose is fluid and the novel provides enough twists and turns for even the most reluctant reader. While this is the only book Roy has written, it's nothing short of fabulous. Give it a go if you haven't already.
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Helpful Score: 2
For the first time in years, I created a reading challenge list for myself which included reading at least five books in the Pulitzer, Booker and Orange Prize winners categories. I started with this one and was appalled. It's hard to believe, IMO, that this book won the Booker Prize. Reviewers have consistently called this book brilliant. I call it boring, and the writing left much to be desired. I will not be looking to read any more of this author's efforts.
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Helpful Score: 2
I finished it, but it was a chore. I know this book won an award, but I'm not sure why, I was not impressed. It was cumbersome to read with a very weak story line. All in all, I was not impressed.
reviewed God of Small Things on + 19 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a haunting story, beautiful written and completely captivating. Set in Kerala, India, during the late 1960s when Communism rattled the age-old caste system, the story begins with the funeral of young Sophie Mol, the cousin of the novel's protagonists, Rahel and her fraternal twin brother, Estha. In a circuitous and suspenseful narrative, Roy reveals the family tensions that led to the twins' behavior on the fateful night that Sophie drowned. Beneath the drama of a family tragedy lies a background of local politics, social taboos and the tide of history?all of which come together in a slip of fate, after which a family is irreparably shattered.
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Helpful Score: 1
I am so thankful I got to read this book. Roy is a stunning author who plays wonderfully with her words, which she calls the "graphic design of language." All her descriptions and the words that she chooses to use are unique and memorable. Beyond that, the story is poignant, heartbreaking, and will incite you to tears of hopelessness and yells of fury, all the while sticking with you. Highly recommended.
reviewed God of Small Things on + 962 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I am so thankful I got to read this book. Roy is a stunning author who plays wonderfully with her words, which she calls the "graphic design of language." All her descriptions and the words that she chooses to use are unique and memorable. Beyond that, the story is poignant, heartbreaking, and will incite you to tears of hopelessness and yells of fury, all the while sticking with you. Highly recommended.
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Helpful Score: 1
winner of the Booker Prize. John Updike described it: "A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does...A Tiger Woodsian debut."
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Helpful Score: 1
This is a beautifully written book which well deserved the Booker Prize. However, I can safely say it was one of the most depressing books I have ever read! I knew nothing of the Indian caste system before I read this book, and was deeply troubled once I finished the book to find that this system is still alive and well in India. Read this book to wake yourself up to a troubling social issue, then do something about it (see www.dalitnetwork.org).
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Helpful Score: 1
I read at least two books a week, and have done so for over 50 years, and The God of Small Things has remained in my top 5 books of all times list since I first read it. The book is brilliant, poetically written, haunting, guaranteed to cast a spell over you. It is not an easy read, and in fact, you may struggle a bit while reading it to figure out what's going on, but that's partly the author's author's intention, to keep you wondering and emotionally involved. I also found that reading some of the articles and guides regarding the book online to be very helpful and to enhance my reading of the book. This is a do-not-miss book, truly a classic of the late 20th century, and worth the patience it may take when you start reading to get used to the author's style. My highest recommendations.
reviewed God of Small Things on
Helpful Score: 1
TERRIBLE

This book is so choppy and disconnected. The writing style is very difficult to read with any fluency. The story is very sad and disturbing, but if it had been written better it would have been more heartfelt and brought about a feeling of sorry and sadness. As it was/is, it's hard to follow and find any real connecttion with the characters.
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Helpful Score: 1
This story gives incredible insight to the power of the caste system in India--being American, it is hard for us to understand the strict rules that the people of India have lived under. A very powerful story, highly recommended, though it's not an easy read. I'd save it for a winter read, when you can ponder it more.
reviewed God of Small Things on + 14 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This book is so well written, it should be read just to enjoy the words. The topic and characters are touching, but it is the quality of writing here that makes it poetic and memorable.

One of my favorite books of all time.
reviewed God of Small Things on
Helpful Score: 1
Lovely, challenging read that kept me coming back, even as I wanted to avoid the difficulty of the story. Recommended.
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Helpful Score: 1
One of my favorites. This book is the epitome of the art of writing. Every word drips with visual meaning, and envelops the reader into a different time and place.

A must read for those who enjoy imagery and mood. I haven't found one so deep in these characteristics since Conrad's Heart of Darkness.
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Helpful Score: 1
Abominable. What I learned: Arundhati Roy is a good writer and yet this story is horrible. I wanted to scratch my eyes out.
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I had heard great things about this book, but I thought it was a little strange and disturbing in places. Overall, a poignant portrayal of boundaries.
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Honestly, I know this book has been well-received but I found it to be tedious. It was a bookclub selection--never picked it up again.
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A first novel, winner of the 1997 Man Booker Prize. Set in India.
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I am so thankful I got to read this book. Roy is a stunning author who plays wonderfully with her words, which she calls the "graphic design of language." All her descriptions and the words that she chooses to use are unique and memorable. Beyond that, the story is poignant, heartbreaking, and will incite you to tears of hopelessness and yells of fury, all the while sticking with you. Highly recommended.
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I very much enjoyed the author has a way with words that is captivating.
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Excellent, beautifully written tragic love story.
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I didn't finish reading this book because I didn't like the characters and didn't understand a lot of the terminology used, as it was foreign to me. If it had included a glossary, I might have understood it better. Each word is a form of communication, and if one doesn't understand the word and has no dictionary that covers that word, than the communication does not occur. It received great accolades, however, and don't think it should be judged by my opinion.
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Resonates with double meanings, both subtle and powerful, providing a window to Indian/British immigrant culture. Interesting, satisfying.
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just not my type of book. read this on a beach vacation years ago but struggled with it.
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Fantastic book. Set in the background of kerala. The story theme moves back and forth between past and present in different times and then finally it merges.
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You will never forget this story, told from the viewpoint of a child. Written in a unique style.
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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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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.
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story of a family tragedy ....woven through with Indian culture...
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Won the Booker Prize and many accolades.
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This novel won the Booker Prize for Novel of the Year in England. Set in India, it is a lush and sultry tale of post-colonial pains and the growing pains of children in an affluent Anglo-Indian household, as well as the continuing power of the caste system... and the price paid by two lovers who ignore the division society imposes on them.
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Masterful from beginning to end. I'm now a fan.
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Intelligent book, well written.
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This is a softcover version of the book - about 8 1/2 by 5 1/2 inches.
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I am so thankful I got to read this book. Roy is a stunning author who plays wonderfully with her words, which she calls the "graphic design of language." All her descriptions and the words that she chooses to use are unique and memorable. Beyond that, the story is poignant, heartbreaking, and will incite you to tears of hopelessness and yells of fury, all the while sticking with you. Highly recommended.
reviewed God of Small Things on + 962 more book reviews
I am so thankful I got to read this book. Roy is a stunning author who plays wonderfully with her words, which she calls the "graphic design of language." All her descriptions and the words that she chooses to use are unique and memorable. Beyond that, the story is poignant, heartbreaking, and will incite you to tears of hopelessness and yells of fury, all the while sticking with you. Highly recommended.
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The writing is very poetic and listening this book may be better than reading it.
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Born from two eggs in the one womb of their beloved mother Ammu, Rahel and Esthappen have little to cling to but each other, and the occasional joy that passes through their young lives like a cool breeze on a sweltering Indian day. When Ammu, divorced and disappointed, returns with the twins to her family home in southern India, their worlds begin to open wider, all the while closing in on them. As the three arrive into the arms of Ammu's eccentric and unforgettable relatives, a tragedy begins to unfold that will propel them toward a fate that has perhaps stalked them from their inception. Yet throughout the pain and hardships of things large and small, the humor, humanity, and ferociously perceptive intelligence only betstowed upon seven-year-olds shines gloriously through.
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Amazing book!
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1997 Booker Prize Winner
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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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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.
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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
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I read this book based on all the positive, glowing reviews it rec'd. Well I should have paid more attention to the one-star reviews because I completely agree with most of them. This book was so cumbersome. I insisted on finishing it, hoping it would pick up or that something incredible might happen. Well nothing happened. I almost feel like maybe I missed something in there among all her fancy talk and poetic-like writing. I just didn't "get" it. Maybe it was over my head, I don't know. I feel like the author really was all over the place as far as characters and times are concerned. I couldn't tell what was present day and what was the past. I thought about rereading it because I may better understand it a second time but decided that I better not waste any more time on this novel. The Amazon review says that Roy's writing is very dreamlike and sensual. I do agree with this to an extent but it was not intelligible. I like dreamlike writing, but more along the lines of Haruki Murakami. Overall, I felt this was a pretty big waste of my reading time.
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Beautifully written, Roy seems to invent her own language to describe the small Indian community featured in this tale. This story is a heartbreaking one, abuzz with life, and with death. Highly recommended.
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Had a hard time following this one-I really wanted to like it, but couldn't keep at it. It jumped around too much for me.
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Once I got into this book, by hearing it on audio (and so conquering the mystery of the Indian names and how to pronounce them), I really enjoyed it: it is an exceptional first novel and a hauntingly beautiful glimpse of a culture (Southern India) which I knew nothing of. It even gives you something of an understanding of the caste system and its sometimes tragic effects.
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One of my top 5 favorite books of all time. I love love love this book.
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Loved this book
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Fabulous book.
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This is a beautifully written book about a girl's experience with her odd family in India. Dense but enjoyable
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I read it for the made-up words, for the intriguing sentance structure and the unusal concepts.
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I wasn't sure what to think about this book when I finished. While it was beautifully written, the plot was sometimes hard to understand. Yet, weeks later as I think about it, I appreciate more the intricate story of the twins Rahel and Estha, and what happened when their cousin Sophie Mol visited one summer.
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The language of this book is beautiful. The God of Small Things is, in a word, captivating.
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Love conquers taboo in ambitious first novel for Arundhati Roy. She won the Booker Prize for this; would that all architects wrote so well.
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Ah ... what can I say about this book? I wish the author would write dozens more. I wish this was on every required reading list at every school. This book is poignant, expressive, heartbreaking, beautiful.
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Amazing but tragic story. Every time I read it I find some new little detail to love in the plot, the writing, the structure. A must-read.
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Rich detail in this story of an Indian family and its complications as well as its adjustmetns to a modernizing country.
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Try as I might, I just could not get into this book. The writing is quite beautiful and sophisticated and while I'm an intelligent person, I just could not follow it. I started reading it then gave up temporarily then I started reading it again and I just couldn't do it. I had trouble keeping up with the story line and found that if my mind wandered at all while I was reading, I would be totally lost. I am NOT one to stop reading books that I have started but with an entire "to be read" shelf waiting for me, I finally decided to give up.
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A beautiful novel set in India. Amongst the beauty and poverty there is a tragic and sensual tone to the book that keeps one spellbound. The author won The Booker Prize, England's most prestigious literary award for this in 1997. Worth reading!
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I'm sure that it would have been considerably more enjoyable, if I were more familiar with the mores of the culture and indeed the culture itself.
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Tried & tried to get into this book. Found it very hard to hold my attention. Didn't care for her writing style.
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This is a wonderful story if you can stay with it. I've read quite a few books by Indian writers, but this one is certainly the "most" Indian I've read to date. Roy is tough to follow and hard to understand at times, but her command of language is amazing. The Indian way of running words together and random capitalization is a little weird at first, but after a while I kind of liked it. Her way of spelling words that children and non-English speaking people is good. A "Bar Nowl" name Oshua.
I would have to say that the overall mood of this book is dark and sad. Poor Estha, how much more could a little boy take. "Little man with a spoiled puff. Little Man, he lived in a Caravan. Dum dum". He seemed to bear the brunt (even if imagined) of everything bad that happened. Hard life for a two egg twin.
This will be a hard book to recommend. I think it will mean different things to different people. Some will be repulsed by the darkness. Disease, abuse, ignorance...but a beautiful love story underneath.
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"Outstanding. A glowing first novel." -Newsweek

"The quality of Ms. Roy's narration is so extraordinary- at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatevely supple- that the reader remains enthralled all the way through." -New York Times Book Review
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a great read!
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In her first novel, award-winning Indian screenwriter Arundhati Roy conjures a whoosh of wordplay that rises from the pages like a brilliant jazz improvisation. The God of Small Things is nominally the story of young twins Rahel and Estha and the rest of their family, but the book feels like a million stories spinning out indefinitely; it is the product of a genius child-mind that takes everything in and transforms it in an alchemy of poetry. The God of Small Things is at once exotic and familiar to the Western reader, written in an English that's completely new and invigorated by the Asian Indian influences of culture and language.
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New York Times Book Review

"The quality of Ms. Roy's narration is so extraordinary at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple that the reader remains enthralled all the way through."

John Updike, The New Yorker

"A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does.... A Tiger Woodsian debut."

Washington Post Book World

"A splendid and stunning debut."

Newsweek

"Outstanding. A glowing first novel."

USA Today
"Offers such magic, mystery and sadness that, literally, this reader turned the last page and decided to reread it. Immediately. It's that hauntingly wonderful."
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Please see my full review here