On the subject of her favourite book, Sambhavi Sudhakar explains why The God of Small Things makes the cut.
“The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably.”
The above line from Arundhati Roy’s The God of Small Things is a clear example of the grand, masterful narrative within the novel. With its complex plot delivered in the most lyrical prose, ‘The God of Small Things’ is a celebration of love amidst loss.
A story of a fractured, discordant family in Kerala, India, the book traverses decades of crashed hopes and lost lives. The novel begins with thirty-one-year-old Rahel returning to her hometown Ayemenem to meet her twin brother Estha, from whom she considered herself “physically separate, but with (a) joint identity.” Two lives forced apart by a treacherous turn of events, they seek solace, worship and refuge in each other.
Velutha combats vehemently against social assault and oppression caused by members of his caste. It is his struggle and ultimate sacrifice in the face of custom that defines the contours of the plot. His union with Ammu is significant as it is a common streak of rebellion that both unites and annihilates them. Their spirits that fought and perished in the name of love are rekindled by Estha and Rahel who once again “break the Love Laws that dictate who should be loved, and how… And how much”.
The novel ends on an optimistic note, with the characters looking forward to a better tomorrow notwithstanding their adversities, leaving the reader stirred at its haunting beauty.
On a personal level, what distinguishes The God of Small Things from other books is not only its unique language or narrative style, but the means in which it delicately creates a balance between the personal and the political. Stringing multiple events into a song that touches every note on the full scale of human emotion, The God of Small Things is a rich and rewarding experience.