It was after a long hiatus that I had started reading fiction again. I picked up The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and I was left mesmerized. This book, unlike many of her contemporaries, deserves the coveted Booker Prize. Arundhati Roy weaves out an engaging tale of nostalgia, peppered subtly with a tinge of romance, set against the backdrop of the orthodox Indian state, Kerela.
The plot has an aroma of freshness, quite unlike the traditional cliches that some vague, “writer for youth” IITian has been feeding us with. The book starts with the present day grown-up twins Rahel and Estha, reconciling after an eon of separation. And then it moves to flashback in 1969. And again jumps forward. The non-chronological narrative of the novel enticed me the most. Kudos to the author for pulling off such an impeccable narrative, giving subtle facts of what would happen in the future, while never divulging out the complete details. Although the book does not fall into the thriller genre, it grips you invariably.
Any writer’s craft can be judged by his adroitness at describing the scenario, which, helps for a lucid visualisation of the entire situation as if it were a rill being played in the cinema. And Roy performs in this area with panache. You actually see the garden that the nun is looking after, the broken boat that is discovered by the twins or the expressions of emotions. Her descriptions are as brilliant, if not greater, as Ayn Rand’s in The Fountainhead. A part of this is testimony to the fact that she has her own childhood memories of Ayanaman, Kerela, been penned down. This makes this novel a part-fiction-part-autobiography.
In all, it is a fabulous read, each word serving its purpose to the hilt, each character leaving a mark on your mind and each expression captured vividly and as genuinely as possible. It is also a succinct novel, wrapped up in only about 500 pages. However, because of its non-linear narrative, you won’t be able to just skim through the pages.
Hats off, lady ! Adulation well deserved !