Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just book love miscellany in general.
I read Arundhati Roy’s The God Of Small Things as part of the postal book club #1001BookSwap #SEAReaders (Southeast Asian Readers). There are four of us in this book club – two from Singapore and two from Malaysia.
Written by Arundhati Roy
Published by Fourth Estate (2009, first published 1997)
ISBN: 0007880332 (ISBN13: 9780007880331) Literary Award: Man Booker Prize (1997)
Book was part of the #1001BookSwap – postal book club. Book quotes edited using Typorama.
I wouldn’t even attempt to review this exquisite novel, so I will just be sharing what I have written in the reading journal that was passed around among the four members of the book club, particularly the six things I loved about Arundhati Roy’s The God Of Small Things, and intersperse these ruminations with some of my favourite quotes from the book.
(1) The poetry in the language, the spaces in between words inviting the reader in, to smell the mangoes, taste the preserves, touch the untouchable.
(2) While portraying an overwrought theme of forbidden love – made even more complicated (or horrific) by the caste system of India, Arundhati Roy was able to weave in masterfully the history of India, female sexuality, the sins of patriarchy, inter-racial love – and so much more besides. It becomes more than just a love story, given how it is framed – yet at its very core is the sensuality of a woman, THE woman, EVERY woman. It remains a love story. Only, magnified.
(3) The twins. The loss of childhood. The muted grief. The casual sexual abuse. The vomit in one’s mouth while the hills come alive with The Sound Of Music and the fizz of orangelemon lemonorange. The capsized boat. The moth in one’s heart. The dismissive words that burrow deep until they bear fruit. The unremitting guilt.
(4) Dark-skinned Velutha and his beautiful effrontery: “We’ll see about that.”
(5) Those last few pages of smoke and ashes.
I will read this again; if only to study the language and discover what I may have missed in my first reading; and to immerse myself once more in beauty and terror.
#LitWorld2018GB Update: India