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Written by Arundhati Roy and published in 1997, this prize winning novel is set in Roy's hometown of Aymanam, where Paradise Pickles still stands. The story covers the lives of a pair of twins who experience loss at an early age, and find redemption as adults. The story is not told in sequence; one scene may be from their childhood, the next as adults. Roy does an excellent job storytelling, though, as the reader never feels lost or bewildered with the tale. Roy's prose is fun to read; she deals with the darkest of content, mixed with light humor. (Click the book cover to go to Amazon.com to buy the book!)
About Arundhati Roy:
Born: November 24, 1961
mother: Christian woman from Kerala
father: Bengali Hindu tea planter, whom Roy barely knows and prefers not to speak about
Arundhati grew up in Aymanam, until she was 16 years old, when she ran away to live in a squatter's camp. She eventually attended the Dehli School of Architecture, and married a fellow student, Gerard Da Cunha. Four years later, the marriage ended and Roy took a job at the National Institute of Urban Affairs. A film director discovered her on the street, and she had a small role, but she got a scholarship to go to Italy to study architecture. While in Italy, Roy realized she was a writer and met her current husband. Together they wrote several TV scripts before Roy decided to focus on writing her book.
1997: God of Small Things is published to immediate acclaim, and wins the Booker Prize in England. Roy was the first Indian woman, and the first non-expatriate Indian to win the award.
1997: Also the 50th anniversary of India's independence from Britain.
The story primarily takes place in and around a town named Ayemenem, in the Kottayam district of Kerala, India. The temporal setting shifts back and forth from 1969, when Rahel and Estha, a set of fraternal twins are 7 years old, to 1993, when the twins are reunited at age 31. Much of the story is written with a viewpoint sympathetic to the 7-year-old children. Malayalam words are liberally used in conjunction with English. Prominent facets of Kerala life that the novel captures are Communism, the caste system, and the Syrian Christian way of life.