My rating: 5 of 5 stars
“...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones 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 you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.
That is their mystery and their magic.”
If there is one thing that got me engaged in the verbosity of Roy, it is how she elicit the context thru the little things; and the accumulation of such creates a big narrative as grandiose as the South India, and as huge as the backstories of the countries Caste system. Such histories gives me an avenue of introspection of how the people behaved in such a way throughout the story.
The God of Small Things is about the story of fraternal twins, Estha and Rahel, on how they were able to see each other 23 years later after that sudden change in their lives. Part family saga and part social commentary, the book does not only dwell with these two; but also to the lives of their mom, their Chacko, their Baby and Mamachi and Papachi, Sophie... and the Paravan whom they deeply loved.
What I loved in their story is how the context was built up. One clear example of this is the scene (view spoiler)[where the Plymouth was in the middle of a protest, and Rahel saw Velutha (hide spoiler)]. In that page alone, you have seen the collective sentiments of Kerala at the time, their religion and beliefs, their passion, and their desire to establish change. This vivid imagery is comparable to the Zengakuren books -- books that tackle 1969 Ideologies -- like Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and like Haruki Murakami's Norwegian wood.
What the book made challenging though is the build-up on the first few pages. Perhaps this was because of the intention to give us a context of the environment we are about to immerse to. Through its slow pace, we engage our senses; so authentic, that we can almost smell the scent of Ayamemnen, hear the Malayalam language, and see the depth of the river near the Paradise Pickles.
In here you don't discover untold stories; rather, you have encountered them before. Just the same, such a story was told magically that you want to hear it again.
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