Alec's Reviews > The God of Small Things
The God of Small Things
Rhythm and repetition are as powerful in prose as they are in poetry and music. Arudhati Roi's writing in The God of Small Things is hyper-aware of that. Rhythmic structures dominate the novel at all levels, from the riffs and variations of "If he touched her he couldn't talk to her, if he loved her he couldn't leave, if he spoke he couldn't listen, if he fought he couldn't win," to the larger rhythm of foreshadowing backed by detailed reminiscence that drives the narrative while not pretending to do anything else. The overtness of the structures are perhaps the novel's most interesting feature. Here there are no plot devices disguised as flower vases or casual conversations. The rhythms are out in the open, spoken so forcefully that the reader cannot help but attend. From the first pages the shape of the plot is as obvious as a detective story, a form from which it borrows many elements, though replacing the impeccable logic of the detective with the gradual, associative leaps of individual memory. The book is a mild pleasure, it's story distressing and strange, framed as it is in so many melodic details.
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