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The God of Small Things

By Arundhati Roy
Review by Zoe (English Literature)

The God of Small Things is a semi-autobiographical novel published in 1997. It is a family drama set in Kerala in India and depicts several different generations of a family grappling with huge social issues, which were erupting at the time. I was really interested in learning more about the political upheaval at the time the story is set in 1969 when Marxist ideas were upsetting the established class system. I also enjoyed the depiction of the Hindu caste system, which is described from the point of view of children. The “small things” in the novel, such as the everyday experiences of the children Estha and Rahel, act as microcosms for these big social and political forces which transform their day-to-day lives. I enjoyed the theme of the conflict between love and social obligation, which I believe is endlessly relevant. The novel does delve into the hard-hitting themes of patriarchy, domestic abuse, divorce, and disgrace, and in doing this it creates a complex web of power and agendas that eventually entangles all of the characters in some way. I loved the way the non-sequential nature of the narrative means that the plot circles around its tragic climax, beginning at the end and ending at the heart of the story.

The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
ISBN 10: 0006550681
ISBN-13: 9780006550686

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