A Reader posted a review at 2009-04-29 07:45:08.
Arundhati Roy's novel has good bones; structure gave it impact.
But its breath, its life lies in its language.
The raw facts around which the novel revolves are revealed immediately: the deaths of the twins' half-English cousin Sophie, and of their untouchable friend Velutha; a forbidden love affair; the separation of the twins; the early death of their mother Ammu. These are events from which there is no escape. This is not a book, clearly, of what-happens-next. Plot is secondary to character and atmosphere.
In place of plot, we get people: mothers, fathers, uncles, great-aunts, grandparents. No character dives cleanly into the narrative.
Only a few things happen in The God of Small Things.
Those things are terrible, on the small and human scale of things, but described with beauty and a sensuous brutality. Key events reverberate forward and backward in time, accumulating detail, wrapped in multiplying layers of description and emotion.
Yes, the events are terrible, the events are dark, gritty, gripping. It makes a person value the life that one has, because for the characters in this novel, happiness is only a dream.
They all broke the rules. They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much.