The God Of Small Things by Arundhati Roy is a tale about two fraternal twins and their childhood experiences and how their lives are forever changed by a set of unfortunate events whose roots are deeply embedded in the social and political systems of the town they live in.
Summary Of The Book
The God Of Small Things is centered around the Ipe family living in Ayemenem, Kerala, after Independence. Estha and Rahel are the protagonists of Roy?s story. The twins reside with their mother, uncle, and grandparents.
The story begins with the arrival of Sophie Mol, the twins? cousin. She arrives from England with her mom, to spend their Christmas vacation in India. Sophie?s step father died tragically in a car accident, so as soon as she arrives in India she is the center of attention of all the adults at home. Feeling ignored, the twins fix an old boat with the help of their friend Velutha. The twins, Rahel and Esthappen use this boat to frequently traverse the river and visit an old, abandoned house. Velutha belongs to a lower caste, and is an Untouchable, but the Ipe family have known him since childhood, and employ him in their pickle factory.
The plot thickens when it is discovered that the twins? mother Ammu is having a relationship with Velutha. Since this is a socially unacceptable practice, Ammu is locked up in a room. When the twins attempt to speak to her, she angrily tells them that had they not been there she would?ve been free. Feeling hurt, the twins decide to run away to their abandoned house. Sophie learns about the twins? plan and joins them. As the children traverse the river, the boat capsizes. The twins are able to swim across, but Sophie is carried away by the current. Feeling exhausted, the twins fall asleep in their abandoned house.
Unbeknownst to the twins, Velutha is also sleeping there, on the veranda. When the children?s absence is discovered, the family also learns about the discovery of Sophie?s body near the river. The twins? grandmother immediately reports to the police that Velutha is responsible for raping Ammu and kidnapping the twins. The police find Velutha and subject him to a brutal beating.
The God Of Small Things was the recipient of the Booker Prize in 1997. It grabbed the fourth spot on the New York Times Bestseller List. Her debut novel had the highest success for a non-expatriate Indian author.
About Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy is an author, essayist, and political activist. She has also authored Walking With The Comrades, Broken Republic: Three Essays, The Hanging of Afzal Guru, Listening To Grasshoppers: Field Notes On Democracy, and Kashmir: The Case For Freedom.
Roy graduated with a degree in architecture, from the School of Planning and Architecture, in Delhi. After the resounding success of her first novel, Roy became a screenwriter for the television serial The Banyan Tree. Apart from writing, Roy is actively involved in political matters. She has participated in demonstrations supporting Kashmir?s independence. Roy has also outwardly criticized the American military invasion of Afghanistan. Arundhati Roy was married twice. She currently resides with her husband Pradip Krishen, in New Delhi.