Thursday, 12 September 2013

The God of Small Things

Should write shorter novels...

  Written by Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things did look like a promising book when I lifted it off the shelf. It was written back in 1997 and so far it is the only novel of the mentioned author. The main theme implies how the small things change your life forever whereas every life changing event which leads to a series of catastrophes is in fact the opposite of small and unimportant. 

The setting is quite strong with detailed descriptions of not just the spaces but of characters as well. So visioning the book and directing your own movie in your head while reading it is quite the easy task. 

What is not an easy task is reading through a story which feels stretched after a while. 

In general I am in great favor of a mystery, which is to be revealed later on or at the end. Especially if it includes a O.Henry style twist. But if the author reveals too much and lets the reader guess it through the mid-book then it is completely ruined. And no amount of repetitive staccato sentences lifted off from "Waiting for Godot" is going to save it. 

Despite the wrong technique employed in the book, the story is interesting and even informative when it comes to reading about a culture which is so wholly unconnected to that of your own. The non-sequential narrative is a must when there is a mystery to be revealed. Going back and forth in the story is always refreshing and it is even something I adore since I've read my first Jose Vasconcelos book.

Looking at the book from every angle I can see its misused potential. Much like the characters within it, the book refuses to transcend and instead stretches itself to its limits, up to a point where you sit back and say: "Just get to the point please.". The third person narration used in the story resembles a chatty 90 year-old who has to talk about her childhood for an hour beforehand in order to explain why the wine she bought yesterday was tasty. 

In concluding this post I have to say that the book was not bad. It could have been a masterpiece had it been shorter and if the writer had not succumbed to some cliche techniques such as repetitions and staccato sentences which really only work for short stories and plays. As it is now however I can only call it mediocre.