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Authors: Arundhati Roy

The God of Small Things

BOOK: The God of Small Things
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Praise for THE GOD OF SMALL THINGS

“Brilliant … Magically written… One can only strongly recommend this extremely funny and enchanting and pretty much genius piece of debut fiction.”


The Spectator

“Roy peels away the layers of her mysteries with such delicate cunning, such a dazzlingly adroit shuffle of accumulating revelations that to discuss the plot would be to violate it. Like a devotionally built temple,
The God of Small Things
builds a massive interlocking structure of fine, intensely felt details. A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does.”

— John Updike,
The New Yorker

“The quality of Ms Roy’s narration is so extraordinary — at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple — that the reader remains enthralled all the way to its agonising finish. A devastating first novel”


The New York Times Book Review

“Saturated with whimsical inventiveness and lush, evocative description…. Arundhati Roy’s novel has a magic and mystery all its own.”

— The Toronto Star

“A masterpiece, utterly exceptional in every way… The joy of
The God of Small Things
is that it appeals equally to the head and the heart. It is clever and complex, yet it makes one laugh, and finally, moves one to tears.”


Harpers & Queen

“A banquet for all the senses we bring to reading.”


Newsweek

“The God of Small Things
is a first novel of remarkable resonance and originality. Arundhati Roy has been compared to Salman Rushdie and the comparison is apt: like Rushdie she is a dazzling stylist, someone who loves the sound and play of words. Like Rushdie, too, she has a grand comedic sense: in its vision of a highly irrational world,
The God of Small Things
is both funny and insightful.”


The Edmonton Journal

“The God of Small Things
draws the reader into a mesmerising world, conjured up in a lush, lyrical prose that sets the nerves tingling.”


The Evening Standard

“The God of Small Things
offers such magic, mystery and sadness that, literally, this reader turned the last page and decided to re-read it. Immediately. It’s that hauntingly wonderful.”


USA Today

“Remarkable.”


Globe and Mail

“Heartbreaking and indelible.”


New York Times

“From its mesmerising opening sequence, it is clear that we are in the grip of a delicious new voice… a voice of breathtaking beauty.
The God of Small Things
achieves genuine, tragic resonance. It is, indeed, a masterpiece.”


Observer

“A gripping tale of love and loss… told with compelling wit, eroticism and consummate tenderness.”


Financial Times

“A compelling story which somehow marries the deepest, smallest personal emotions with an epic narrative… There were times I had to stop reading this novel because I feared so much for the characters, or I had to re-read a phrase or a page to memorise its grace.”


Sunday Express

“As memorable as a lover’s face.”


The Times

“It is rare to find a book that so effectively cuts through the clothes of nationality, caste and religion to reveal the bare bones of humanity. A sensational novel.”


Daily Telegraph

“Rhapsodic and breathtaking… New Delhi writer Arundhati Roy both delights the senses and engages the emotions. Drenched with poetic image and saturated with wisdom, the book’s rich tapestry is a tour de force in good storytelling, a book to savor and to remember.”


The London Free Press

“This remarkable first novel by Arundhati Roy is daring in its scope, at once both traditional and innovative as it combines the best elements of contemporary writing while striving to push the envelope as the complex narrative weaves back and forth in time.”


The Kitchener Record

“Roy weaves her tragedy from an explosive mix of fate, history… and the stubborn wills of her flawed and fascinating characters…. skilfully, irresistibly balancing foreboding and delight… Like
Fall On Your Knees, The God of Small Things
will win a lot of awards. It will deserve them.”


Now
magazine

For Mary Roy,
who grew me up.
Who taught me to say “excuse me”
before interrupting her in Public.
Who loved me enough to let me go.

For LKC who, like me, survived.

Never again will a single story be told
as though it’s the only one.

—J
OHN
B
ERGER

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Pradip Krishen, my most exacting critic, my closest friend, my love. Without you this book wouldn’t have been
this
book.

Pia and Mithva for being mine.

Aradhana, Arjun, Bete, Chandu, Golak, Indu, Joanna, Philip, Veena, Sanju and Viveka for seeing me through the years it took to write this book.

Pankaj Mishra for flagging it off on its journey into the world.

Alok Rai and Shomit Miner, for being the kind of readers that writers dream about.

David Godwin, flying agent, guide and friend. For taking that impulsive trip to India. For making the waters part.

Neelu, Sushma and Krishnan for keeping my spirits up and my hamstrings in working order.

Nahid Bilgrami for arriving just in time.

And finally but immensely, Dadi and Dada. For their love and support.

Thank you.

CHAPTER 1
PARADISE PICKLES & PRESERVES

M
ay in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun.

The nights are clear, but suffused with sloth and sullen expectation.

But by early June the southwest monsoon breaks and there are three months of wind and water with short spells of sharp, glittering sunshine that thrilled children snatch to play with. The countryside turns an immodest green. Boundaries blur as tapioca fences take root and bloom. Brick walls turn mossgreen. Pepper vines snake up electric poles. Wild creepers burst through laterite banks and spill across the flooded roads. Boats ply in the bazaars. And small fish appear in the puddles that fill the PWD potholes on the highways.

It was raining when Rahel came back to Ayemenem. Slanting silver ropes slammed into loose earth, plowing it up like gunfire. The old house on the hill wore its steep, gabled roof pulled over its ears like a low hat. The walls, streaked with moss, had grown soft, and bulged a little with dampness that seeped up from the ground. The wild, overgrown garden was full of the whisper and scurry of small lives. In the undergrowth a rat snake rubbed itself against a glistening stone. Hopeful yellow bullfrogs cruised the scummy pond for mates. A drenched mongoose flashed across the leaf-strewn driveway.

The house itself looked empty. The doors and windows were locked. The front verandah bare. Unfurnished. But the skyblue Plymouth with chrome tailfins was still parked outside, and inside, Baby Kochamma was still alive.

She was Rahel’s baby grandaunt, her grandfather’s younger sister. Her name was really Navomi, Navomi Ipe, but everybody called her Baby. She became Baby Kochamma when she was old enough to be an aunt. Rahel hadn’t come to see her, though. Neither niece nor baby grandaunt labored under any illusions on that account. Rahel had come to see her brother, Estha. They were two-egg twins. “Dizygotic” doctors called them. Born from separate but simultaneously fertilized eggs. Estha—Esthappen—was the older by eighteen minutes.

BOOK: The God of Small Things
8.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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