Arundhati Roy is the author of the novel The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997.
With sensuous prose, a dreamlike style infused with breathtakingly beautiful images and keen insight into human nature, Roy's debut novel charts fresh territory in the genre of magical, prismatic literature. Set in Kerala, India, during the late 1960s when Communism rattled the age-old caste system, the story begins with the funeral of young Sophie Mol, the cousin of the novel's protagonists, Rahel and her fraternal twin brother, Estha. In a circuitous and suspenseful narrative, Roy reveals the family tensions that led to the twins' behavior on the fateful night that Sophie drowned. Beneath the drama of a family tragedy lies a background of local politics, social taboos and the tide of history‘all of which come together in a slip of fate, after which a family is irreparably shattered. Roy captures the children's candid observations but clouded understanding of adults' complex emotional lives. Rahel notices that "at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. The Big Things lurk unsaid inside." Plangent with a sad wisdom, the children's view is never oversimplified, and the adult characters reveal their frailties‘and in one case, a repulsively evil power‘in subtle and complex ways. While Roy's powers of description are formidable, she sometimes succumbs to overwriting, forcing every minute detail to symbolize something bigger, and the pace of the story slows. But these lapses are few, and her powers coalesce magnificently in the book's second half. Roy's clarity of vision is remarkable, her voice original, her story beautifully constructed and masterfully told. First serial to Granta; foreign rights sold in France, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Italy, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Holland, India, Greece, Canada and the U.K. (May)
'Richly deserving the rapturous praise it has received on both sides of the Atlantic... The God of Small Things achieves a genuine tragic resonance. It is, indeed, a masterpiece.' Observer 'The God of Small Things genuinely is a masterpiece, utterly exceptional in every way, and there can be little doubt that posterity will place it very near the top of any shortlist of Indian novels published this century.' William Dalyrmple, Harpers and Queen. 'The quality of Ms. Roy's narration is so extraordinary - at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple - that the reader remains enthralled all the way through to its agonizing finish ... it evokes in the reader a feeling of gratitude and wonderment.' New York Times
This "piercing study of childhood innocence lost" mirrors the growing pains of modern India. Twin sister and brother Rahel and Estha are at the center of a family in crisis and at the heart of this "moving and compactly written book." (LJ 4/15/97)