The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
This novel takes place in Ayemenem, a village in the southwestern Indian state of Kerala, in 1969 and 1993. The narrative shifts back and forth in time in a series of flashbacks, memories, and foreshadowing of what's ahead. The plot centers on Estha and Rahel, fraternal boy and girl twins living with their divorced mother, Ammu, and her family. The central events of the novel involve the fateful visit of their half-English cousin, Sophie Mol, and her mother Margaret Kochamma. We learn at the beginning of the novel that Sophie Mol drowns in the river by the family's house. The rest of the novel pieces together the events that led up to her death and the aftermath that ensued, darting back and forth between Estha and Rahel's childhood and adulthood in the process.
Winner of the 1997 Booker Prize, this much-feted novel does not quite live up to its advance publicity but marks an auspicious literary debut nevertheless.
“That's what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.”
“Change is one thing. Acceptance is another.”
“If you're happy in a dream, does that count?”