This is my review for the class English and the Anglophone World.
The book is The God of Small Things by the Indian writer Arundhati Roy.
The clue to Arundhati Roy’s story is in this passage taken from the khatakali episode. As a kathakali dance, Roy mixes real life and mythology to create great story:
The Great Stories are the one that you heard and want to hear again. The ones that you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet though you listen as though you don’t…In the Great stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again (Roy, 218)
The novel is a Heart of Darkness where you have to enter with your heart on your hand. The plot of The God of Small Things develops in circles around a single event, a single day. The novel is made of small things, significant things. All of them together build the whole drama.
There is a villain who loves, Baby Kochama who still writes I love you in her diary, many years after the death of Father Mulligan. And there are lovers who are villains: all the other characters. From the ambassador Estha “Elvis” to the Ambassador Rahel, from Velutha to Ammu or the laconic Sophie Mol. Everybody loves and everybody kills in their own way. And even some of the most pathetic stories of love in this book are full of sadness and crime at the same time.
Is it a tragedy? Is it a love story? Both of them. A tragic love story. A Romeo and Juliet with Indian flavor, with a river and magnificent secondary characters. It is difficult not to get surprised by some of the turns of the plot. I was amazed by the narrative of Margareth Kochamma and Chacko’s first encounter. And through the whole episode after the death of Velutha and Sophie Mol, as a good optimist, I was looking for the pony too.
There is play with destiny. The unavoidable destiny where all the characters are conducted by their own choice. As Rahel and Estha noticed, they choose to save Ammu, comdemning Velutha. Velutha choose to condemn himself, loving Ammu.
The drama of Rahel develops through the whole book. They are the more developed characters, the most intriguing. However, the big tragedy is Ammu’s one. The episode at the end, the full description of Ammu and Velutha’s first sexual contact, after the recitation of the whole tragedy, serves to reaffirm the triumph of love over death, if not in real life, at least in the mythical world.