Kipling Book Club
God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
Discussion rating 5/5
"Most of the novel's action takes place over two weeks in 1969, amid rising panic among the landlords at how communism and the spreading Naxalite rebellion in West Bengal are unsettling the ancient caste system. The book follows the experiences of a pair of seven-year-old 'two-egg twins', the 'Stick Insect' Rahel and her brother Estha with his 'Elvis puff', who witness the death by drowning of their half-English cousin and become innocent accomplices in their divorced mother Ammu's doomed affair with an Untouchable man, Velutha."
Excerpt from The Irish Times, October 18, 1997
This was the group's first book that focused on Indian culture. Members found it distracting that the author used many Indian words without translating. But as the author has said, "I wouldn't open an Updike and want him to explain some American gizmo."
The Irish Times, October 18, 1997
Discussion touched on how Roy spoke from the child's point of view and how accurate it was, Ammu's life and fate, heartrending episodes with the children's vulnerability, the effects of the twin's fate, effects of television on Baby's life and how it might have differed, the culture as a character, how Roy wrote the book, how Roy is facing obscenity charges in India by someone who didn't even read the book, and Roy's background.
Author interviewed by India50, a website celebrating India's 50 years of independence