Sunday, 30 August 2009

Family Ties

Finished The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy yesterday.

I don't know what it was about this novel, but it just left me cold. I understand the underlying thematic elements - race, family, prejudice, love, etc etc etc...but I really did not connect with any of the characters.

Ammu (the mother of Estha and Rahel, the two main characters) was probably the most sympathetic - marginalized by her parents and brother (and indeed her husband) and forced to give up her only son when family pride is at stake, when all she was guilty of was falling in love. I felt for her plight.

However, the character and attitudes of her two children made me resent them, in a way. I found Estha's voluntary muteness selfish and unnecessary, and Rahel's remote and distant nature inexplicable.

Perhaps I need to know more about Keralan history and their way of life, but I am familiar enough of caste systems and family hierarchies to know that this book was slightly ambiguous in its treatment of the aforementioned way of life.

A "meh" novel for me then. Even the descriptions of the houses, atmosphere, and characters were limpid.

Ah well.

Next up: Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, this novel is definitely on my list of must-reads. I will have to see if my reading accords with yours. :)