Clearly, I had chosen this book for the reason that it had won Man Booker (Back when this book won it, it was called Booker Prize). And also, due to the provocative probing of Srinivas, the other author of the blog.
He rated the book all five stars and knowing him pretty well for quite a long time, I know that he doesn't easily give a book five stars. There must be something special about this book for him to do that.
Though, the title and the proud declaration - WINNER OF THE BOOKER PRIZE - were encouraging, I had this feeling laziness ever since I started reading it. Maybe it is due to long gap during which I hadn't read a word, during my vacay. Or maybe I am going through a phase of life, like 'Readers' Block'.
Whatever may be the reason, I finally completed this book, which more or less took more than 2 week - 16 days, to be precise.
Hope you will enjoy the review as much as I did reading this book...
Blurb (from GoodReads):
"They all crossed into forbidden territory. They all tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how. And how much."
The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, fraternal twins Esthappen and Rahel fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family. Their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu, (who loves by night the man her children love by day), fled an abusive marriage to live with their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), and their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt).
When Chacko's English ex-wife brings their daughter for a Christmas visit, the twins learn that Things Can Change in a Day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever, beside their river...
The very first moment I laid my hands on this book in a used book store, I knew it would be a long time before I read it. Man Bookers started to have lesser appeal now. For the books, other than Life of Pi, were boring and aren't up to the mark. I was hugely disappointed which resulted in eventual lessening of the interest in the winners. Even the 2013 winner, Luminaries, with about 1000-pages, made it impossible for me to even give a thought to the thought of reading it.
Even the main edition of this book has the same cover design as the edition I've read here. Contrary to my expectation, the cover page has no embossed titles or any other ornamentation of that sorts. The title and the author's name are printed in plain simple font and text. No decoration. Even the cover picture has a good artistic value to it. The very glimpse of it gives a serene, some kind of calmness to the mind.
Over the long time of my reading years, I have read various range of books. I had read books for their smart plots. For the sake of their good story. For the sake of the characters. For the sake of the authors. In fact, I had even read books for the sake of their good cover designs. But for the first time in my life, I had read a book for its narration.
When I first read this book, like always, I was least aware of the plot, but as I read on, I had this urge to have to know the plot. I flipped the book and its cover in every possible but found no printed plot of the book. But on the back cover, I found about half a dozen of critics' view of the book. Well, they might have thought that the book needed little praise, so they went on to put the plot of the book in their own words. Now, after reading the book, if you ask me to put the whole story in a plot, I would fail. Damn very miserably, at that. It is almost impossible to put the story of the book in lesser words. In fact, the story of the book held little interest for me. It is the narration that kept me hooked.
One of the critic on the back-cover said, "... A novel of real ambition must invent its own language, and this one does." I can't agree with the critic more on this aspect. It is as if the whole book is written in a whole different language. Some language higher and less sophisticated.
This read is not what I call a easy-breezy read. It is way more tougher than that. The whole story lies in a jumble in the book. The end of narrated in the start. The climax is lost somewhere in the middle. The romance, it is everywhere. It is the romance between the male lead and the female lead. It is the romance of the reader with the words. I have never come across such a book which held so fascination about me in the aspect of narration.
When I say the narration was the best aspect of the book, I don't mean that the language is simple and you can glide through the words like a hot knife on butter. No way. In fact, it is quite contrary to that. The book demands your entire attention to it. It forces you to read word by word. Even if something else catches your attention, the book shouts at you and commands you to drive the entire attention to the story. Because if you miss a single paragraph, you are lost in a desert of mirages with a same, indifferent sight on every direction you watch. You will be left bewildered. So I recommend you, readers, to start this book when you have lots of time at hand and with enough determination, because at times the story gets very slagging and the thought of giving up the book crosses your mind. It did cross my mind a lot of times, but I overcame that feeling and am happy that I completely read the book.
The only not-so-positive aspect of the book is its not-so-fascination-holding story/plot.
Title: The God of Small Things
Author: Arundhati Roy
ISBN (edition I've read): 9780006550686
Read between: 22-01-2014 to 06-02-2014
Publishers: HarperCollins Publishers
MRP: $ 16.00 | £ 7.99