The God of Small Things

Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (1,038 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Man Booker Prize Winner, 1997

Likened to the works of Faulkner and Dickens when it was first published 20 years ago, this extraordinarily accomplished debut novel is a brilliantly plotted story of forbidden love and piercing political drama, centered on the tragic decline of an Indian family in the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India. 

Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, the twins Rahel and Esthappen 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 and her mother arrive on a Christmas visit, the twins learn that things can change in a day. That lives can twist into new, ugly shapes, even cease forever. 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. 

©1997 Arundhati Roy (P)2017 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Worthy Booker winner!

This is a marvelously written satire of post-independent Indian culture from a very adapt author. It captures religion, sex, bigotry, misogyny, abuse, incest and numerous other human experiences and vices. Miss Roy uses a flashback story style interwoven with remarkable prose to illuminate a tragedy that will taint two innocent children for their entire lives. Some of the chapters are heart wrenching while others infuriate or even amuse.

The first chapter if read/heard carefully explains the entire plot of the book. Get through the chapter as it can be quite complex with multitudes of names and backgrounds. The story begins at the end and then slowly fills in the cause. This does not take away from the enjoyment of the narrative but only enhances its appeal. The book is both a mystery and a damning of injustice in Indian society. This is not a happy story.

Without a doubt, this is one of the better Booker winners. Don’t miss it.

27 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely Brilliant

What made the experience of listening to The God of Small Things the most enjoyable?

The narrator is an excellent match for the material.
She navigates the English/Malayalam/child language with fluidity.

The writing itself is tremendously imaginative; it is not just a story but an
immersive story/creative/linguistic experience.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

in the talkies and the ending

Any additional comments?

I understand why this book is considered a modern classic.
Rereading it enhances my "not a word out of place" appreciation.

36 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Couldn't finish

I found the story very hard to follow. The characters were a bit confusing and the timeline was extremely confusing. I couldn't tell where the characters were in their life story. I gave up. It might have been easier had I read the book rather than listen to it so I could go back for references

42 people found this helpful

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Innocence lost

Beautifully written story of innocence lost, portrayed so vividly that I could almost hear, smell and taste the scenes.

9 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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So flowery

I was unable to get through to the end. The exaggerated details were painful to hear, and certain themes and phrases were such an overwhelming overtone that the storyline, which is largely out of chronological order to begin with, was detracted from. Perhaps the hard copy would be easier for some readers.

15 people found this helpful

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Faulkner in Hindi

I had a very difficult time following the action. Keeping track of characters was one challenge. The author’s frequent use of a language other than English was another. The non-linearity of the story was a third bit of trouble. The writing itself was fine (and maybe I’m just a Philistine), but I couldn’t wait to get this over with.

5 people found this helpful

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Stunning

The storytelling is prolific. Roy is able to shine a light on the subtle nuances of being a human and having a heart in a world that can have grey areas and be unfair. The narrator brings the entire story to life. Well done👏🏾 One of my new favorites.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Too confusing in audio format

I listen to audio books mainly in the car and on the plane. I bought this highly rated book during the 2for1 promotion. I wouldn’t call myself a light reader by a long shot, but I had a hard time following the narrative in audio. It jumped back and forth on the timeline so frequently I was never sure where or when I was. I think this book has promise and it has some excellent recommendations. Maybe I need the visual cues from the print version?

7 people found this helpful

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audible performance makes a difference

story read in Anglo-indian rhythms really enhances the experience makes the author's ironic intent clearer.

3 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Couldn’t get into it

I listened for about 3 hours and even listened a 2nd time thinking maybe I’d get it. It wasn’t any better. So I never finished it. Not my cup of tea- as the saying goes.

2 people found this helpful