The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
What a beautifully written book this is. Perhaps it is “overwritten,” as a friend of mine has said, but for me its lushness is part of its charm. It’s the story of a pair of twins, Rahel and Estha (a girl and a boy, “two-egg twins”) and the rest of their family, living through the tragedy of the death of their cousin Sophie Moll, and the complex aftermath. Embedded in this story is a look at India’s caste system, at the political morass, the socio-economic divide, at education and race and the role of women.
I have owned a copy of this book for a long time—I try to read the Booker Prize winners, and this one won in 1997—but I didn’t get around to “reading” it until I came into possession of the Books on Tape version (which, sadly, apparently isn’t available commercially). It is narrated by Donada Peters, a gifted actress, if her reading of this book is a good measure. She’s fantastic. And now, having come to the end of the tapes, I’m ready to dip into the actual text.