May 16, 2021

The God of Small Things

By aarondkey

This is my review of the 1997 Booker Prize Winning novel “The God of Small Things.” It was recommended to me about a year by a friend whose opinion I valued, a false friend as it turned out but I have tried not to let this influence my review.

Imagine that I am a bitter author. I have written and published a book. It’s certainly not as good as this one, as revealing and insightful as this one but still my book sits unread and unloved in the virtual bookshelves of It just feels like there is a world of notice, in between being a Book Prize winning novel and being an average novel, that my book has stepped on a stair to find it wasn’t there – and it bugs me.

I am talking about Herai in this, although I have now published Damon Ich too. But back to the review…

I feel that I have learnt a lot from this novel about keeping the reader (not interested or involved) but forced to keep on reading because of curiosity. I haven’t finished yet, still 50 pages to go. But I have found myself at the stage of wanting to shout at the author “just tell me what happened!” Free me from this world of decay and horrible people so I can go back to my life again. I am viewing the thought of the next 50 pages with dread like an unpleasant chore, cleaning a toilet. I will do it, but I am no longer enjoying myself and if the characters don’t sort themselves and find some joy I will feel cheated.

Anyway a proper review. The language is beautiful. The story is descriptive of a nation, I hope, on the verge of change. Split between English dominance and its own emerging presence. Men are awful in every way. Wife beating, child molesting, lazy brutes. Are none of them free to be men? Even Velutha, you can’t help but feel, if he had been allowed to live his life unimpeded would have sunk into the stereotype, when allowed to be happy. From the very beginning you are aware that something dreadful has happened, that has led to everything decaying. I’m still to find out what.

I am not good with names. I am not good with words I do not understand. Words in a different language of which I do not know the meaning. There are also shifts in time, lots of them – backwards and forwards like the view on a waltzer. I see that this is necessary to build the curiosity. I see it but I don’t like it.

What do I think about this book. It introduces me to a world I have never met, but also one I am quite sure I never want to meet. I would only be one of those pampered creatures with limited attention spans if I tried to meet it. I suppose I had better slog on and you may be assured that I am still bitter.