The God of Small Things
makes you wave it in the faces of the people you know and demand they read
it, because you want to tell them everything that's in it, and the simplest way to do that is to read it all. No point quoting. Just read it all.
But we can't here so we need quotes to give a bit of flavour. You can open it at random and be blown away by the inventiveness of the language. Simultaneously a naive baboo English from her characters, but from Roy a steel-trap intelligence that makes you gasp at her audacity.
'Hello , ladies, Chacko said in his Reading Aloud voice (last night's voice in which he said, Love. Madness. Hope. Infinnate Joy). 'And how was your journey?'
And the Air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. The Big Things lurk unsaid inside.
'Say Hello and How d'you do?' Margaret Kochamma said to Sophie Mol.
'Hello and How d'you do?' Sophie Mol said through the iron railing, to everyone in particular.
'One for you and one for you,' Chacko said with his roses.
She tackles all the communal
problems, she deals with politics
, but through all this she's dealing with inner voice
s, the subtle ways people react and interact
. I can't even begin to describe it. An absolutely dazzling
book. It was Arundhati Roy
's first novel, and won the Booker prize
in 1997. There is too much to take in at one go. Your head is full of voices, voices. If there was any doubt that India
was the most exciting place for English-language writing
, this clears it. Everything you heard about it is true and better.