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The God of Small Things

Narrated by: Sneha Mathan
Length: 11 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (541 ratings)
Regular price: $24.47
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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

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Saman
  • Houston, TX, United States
  • 08-10-17

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.

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

29 of 30 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Too much description.

This book was tough for me. I like character development and character interaction, and while those were in this book, they were camouflaged by lengthy descriptions of everything.
If you are in love with the English language and you like poetry about nature and people, then this might be more your speed.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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

Lovely story of remote India

If you could sum up The God of Small Things in three words, what would they be?

Cultural experience read

What did you like best about this story?

Characters and background

Have you listened to any of Sneha Mathan’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

No. I liked it.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The life described is so foreign, one doesn't have an extreme reaction...

7 of 8 people found this review 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?

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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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.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful