Thursday, March 12

Audiobook Review: The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

The God of Small ThingsAuthor: Arundhati Roy 
Narrator: Sneha Mathan
Title: The God of Small Things
Genre: Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook 
Pages: 340 
Published: 1997
Where I Got It: My shelf (Audible)

The year is 1969. In the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India, a skyblue Plymouth with chrome tailfins is stranded on the highway amid a Marxist workers' demonstration. Inside the car sit two-egg twins Rahel and Esthappen, and so begins their tale. . . .

Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, they fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family--their lonely, lovely mother, Ammu (who loves by night the man her children love by day), their blind grandmother, Mammachi (who plays Handel on her violin), their beloved uncle Chacko (Rhodes scholar, pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher), their enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grandaunt), and the ghost of an imperial entomologist's moth (with unusually dense dorsal tufts).

When their English cousin, Sophie Mol, and her mother, Margaret Kochamma, arrive on a Christmas visit, Esthappen and Rahel learn that Things Can Change in a Day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever, beside their river "graygreen." With fish in it. With the sky and trees in it. And at night, the broken yellow moon in it.

The brilliantly plotted story uncoils with an agonizing sense of foreboding and inevitability. Yet nothing prepares you for what lies at the heart of it.

This was the book club pick for this month. And I have heard of this so I was excited to check it out myself. the story takes place in the state of Kerala in India. We follow a family as they weed their way through the years and changes that take place around them. 

I will say this here and now....the author has a beautiful way with words. She really does weave wonderful verses and metaphors. She can really set a scene and make you see what she wants. I was simply entranced by her words and use of them. 

Now....for the story itself....what a mess. It was everywhere and nowhere. We would follow a character for pages and pages and the moment you think you have a grasp on them, we would jump to someone else years in the future or the past. I am all for fun formats and fun ways to tell the story, but there are a LOT of characters roaming around here so it is already hard enough to remember who is who. Also, we would have pages and pages of descriptives rants that seemed to not help progress the story forward. It was beautiful and thought-provoking, but it did not help the reader progress with the story. 

The author has a beautiful way with words (as I repeat myself for emphasis). But its too much. Her writing overtakes the story and characters. We never get a chance to connect with them or grow with them. We get all these beautiful metaphors and dark graphic scenes, but I did not really care about these characters even at the end when we are supposed to feel SOMETHING. It felt like she was trying too hard to write the next masterpiece and the most thought-provoking book ever....but the characters and the story suffered for it. 

The last couple of chapters were the most exciting aspects of the book. We get to see the drama unfold and finally see some action happening with our characters. Where was all this action and drama earlier????? There were still lots of passages of descriptive and infodumps...BUT there was enough story to keep me from being bored. This is the balance that I needed and wanted. 

The narrator did help a lot for me. I read a few pages of the text and meh. The narrator helped really bring the story and words to life for me. I honestly believe that the narrator is one of the only reasons (plus this was a book club choice) why I didn't give up on the story. She was fantastic. 

Overall, I wish I had liked this more. I loved the writer's entrancing writing style. Simply beautiful. However, the story itself fell flat for me. I wasn't crazy about the format and I feel the long-winded descriptives really buried the characters and the story. The narrator really saved me from wanting to quit. I'll give this 2 stars. 


- #13 for Audiobook Challenge


Blodeuedd said...

Pretty sure this was mentioned as a mentioned joint read once, lol

Carole Rae said...

hahahaha more than likely. Glad we avoided it BUT we did talk A LOT about it at book club

vvb32 reads said...

I had a hard time getting into this one and it is in the DNF pile. But, agree that some of the sentences were beautiful.

Carole Rae said...

vvb32, this would've found its way into the DNF pile if I didn't have book club ;)