I have recently finished reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy, and I found it very painful to go through it from beginning to end.
The novel is one family’s tragedy told through painfully honest stream of consciousness of the family members, laced with such innocent humor and a uniquely beautiful narration. Roy lays out Life as it is, bare like a naked body stripped of its romanticized beauty. However, it is this undeniably raw honesty that is the charm of the novel. There are many characters to love, to hate, and to be completely puzzled about. Their heartbreaking fate is slowly revealed to us as we go forward in time and back again only to watch our poor beloved characters fall into the trap of the Love Law.
What pains me the most about this novel lies within the mind of the Twins, Estha and Rachel. Much of the story is told through their most personal thoughts, their reaction to the world. It makes me feel so exposed, as if someone has finally broken into my terrifying, childishly dark world I thought was a secret, one-of-a-kind, mine. Roy spells out, through the Twins, all my childhood questions, misconceptions, fears, and lays them patiently on these pages for the world to read. On one hand, I am glad that I wasn’t the only child with that disturbing inner world. But on the other hand, it horrifies me to even wonder whether all children have to go through such an experience.
I am not exaggerating when I say that you have to possess a certain amount of strength to read and enjoy—as much as it would allow you—this novel. You will laugh out loud. You will be angry and offended. You will feel hopeless and you will be deeply hurt. But mostly it is only because you know that everything you are reading is true, that life and human nature are no fiction. And somehow you will foolishly believe that Roy’s beautiful writing is enough to heal the wounds.