Literature is an art form and cultural activity, but it remains literature when artists like Suzanna Arundhati Roy Reeve it with various styles and techniques to communicate their ideas, then the art is revived.
The Indian Literature Industry got a solitaire in the form of Arundhati Roy on 24th November 1961 in Shillong, Assam to Rajib Roy and Mary Roy. She initiated her first novel, The God of Small Things, in 1992, and got it completed in 1996.
The novel may be remarked as semi-autobiographical which acquires her childhood experiences. A tale about the fraternal twins whose lives are destroyed by the ‘Love Laws’ that lay down, ‘who should be loved, how and how much’.
The book probes into and deals with the petty issues which can affect people’s behavior and their lives. The book is a series of flashbacks and flash-forwards during the period of 1969 to 1993.
The God of Small Things Summary
The story originates from Ayemenem, in Kerala, India and revolves around fraternal twins Rahel and Esthappen. In the town, a couple named Pappachi (Imperial Entomologist) and Mammachi (Violinist)
lived. Mammachi is in an abusive relationship.
The couple has two children together. A son named Chacko and a daughter named Ammu. There is not enough money in the family to bestow it as a dowry and get Ammu married. Being desperate to escape from her spleenful father, she finally convinces her parents to allow her to spend a summer with a distant aunt, who lived in Calcutta.
There Ammu meets Baba, who is helping in managing a tea estate. To avoid going back to her parents, she marries Baba. And to her dismay, he turns out to be an alcoholic, who physically abuses her. In 1962 they become parents of twins: a boy named Esthappen Yako and a girl named Rahel.
A day comes when Baba loses his job and in order to get back to the job his boss puts a condition to get physically intimate with Ammu. When Ammu refuses, Baba hits and forces her to get ready and agree with him.
Apparently, Ammu leaves her husband and taking her kids, returns to Ayemenem to stay with parents and brother. Meanwhile, Chacko is back to India from England where he went to study at Oxford. There he marries a woman named Margaret; the two of them have a daughter named Sophie.
But the couple separates their ways when Margaret falls in love with Joe. When Margaret’s second husband dies in a car accident, Chacko invites her and Sophie to spend Christmas in Ayemenem. Just before the day when the two were about to arrive, the family goes to the theatre to see The Sound of Music.
On their way, they come across a group of Communist protesters, who surrounds the car and forces Baby Kochamma (their aunt) to wave a red flag and chant a Communist slogan. And then at the theatre, Esthappen is molested by a vendor which fills him with unending fear.
The next day Margaret with her daughter arrives. Sophie drowns while sailing to the historic house with Esthappen and Rahel. Baby Kochamma conspires against Ammu to Chacko; Ammu is out of the house for loving Velutha, from lower caste and Esthappen is sent to his father, Baba. Meanwhile, Ammu suffers from a lung disorder which leads to her death.
Rahel goes to Delhi to study architecture and eventually shifts to the United States. She marries a man there named Larry McCaslin. While making love, he feels that Rahel doesn’t get comfortable although he loves her. They eventually get divorced. She returns to Ayemenem when she comes to know about the arrival of Esthappen. The twins go through the old memories they had together as kids. They generate intimacy and end up having sex.
Like Ammu and Velutha, Rahel and Esthappen have violated the Love Laws that lay down “Who should be loved. And how. And how much”. The novel received the 1997 Booker Prize for Fiction and was listed as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year for 1997. Talkhiyan, a Pakistani serial was based on this novel in the year 2013.