Main Page | See live article | Alphabetical index

The God of Small Things

The God of Small Things is a semi-autobiographical novel by Arundhati Roy that won the Booker Prize in 1997. It is about the childhood experiences of a pair of twins who become victims of circumstance. The book is a description of how the small things in life build up, translate into people's behaviour and affect lives.

The book, completed in 1996, took four years to write. Its potential was immediately realized by Pankaj Mishra, an editor with HarperCollins, who sent it to three British publishers. The book created a buzz in European literary circles with publishers bidding for the rights of the book. Ms. Roy received half-a-million pounds in advances and rights to the book were sold in 21 countries.

The story of the novel is set in a place called Ayemenem, in Kottayam destrict of Kerala. Major timelines of the novel are 1969 when the twins are 7 years of age and 1993 when they are 31. Sequences in the novel constantly shift between the past and the present. Much of the story is written from the view-point of a 7-year old child and Malayalam words are liberally used in conjunction with English. Prominent facets of Kerala life that the novel captures are Communism, the caste system and the Syrian Christian way of life.

Characters in the novel : Rahel, Estha, Ammu, Chacko, Baby Kochamma, Sophie Mol, Velutha, Mammachi.