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The God of Small Things > The God of Small Things: Chapters 8-14

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message 1: by Satia (new)

Satia This thread is for the discussion of chapters 8-14 of July's book, The God of Small Things.

message 2: by Satia (new)

Satia Here are the notes for chapters 8 and 9.

(view spoiler)

message 3: by Satia (new)

Satia Here are the notes for chapters 10 and 11.

(view spoiler)

message 4: by Satia (new)

Satia Here are the notes for chapters 12 through 14.

(view spoiler)

message 5: by Barbara (last edited Jul 15, 2011 05:40PM) (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments QUESTION FROM SATIA'S POST ON CHAPTERS 8 & 9...

How did Sophie mol reveal herself to be human, and how did that revelation affect the twins?

Sophie Mol revealed herself as being human when Rahel and Estha found her all by herself outside the house. She was crying and said that she was lonely. But I have no idea how this affected the twins. My only guess would be that they were feeling jealous of her because she was getting so much attention, while the twins were basically being ignored. Maybe when they saw that she was feeling lonely despite all the attention, it made them realize that all that attention wasn't really anything for them to be envious of.

Satia, what did you think about that? I think you're much better at understanding the symbolism here than I am.

message 6: by Barbara (last edited Jul 15, 2011 05:40PM) (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments QUESTION FROM SATIA'S POST ON CHAPTERS 8 & 9....

Why doesn't Rahel want Velutha to see Sophie Mol?

I was pretty confused about this one. I'm guessing it could be a few different reasons:

1) Rahel keeps thinking about Sophie Mol's "sand colored" or "beach colored" skin. It seems that she thinks Sophie Mol is prettier than she is. Maybe Rahel wants Velutha all to herself (and even has a "sort of" crush on him) so she doesn't want Velutha to see Sophie and think that Sophie Mol is more attractive.

2) Because everyone else is giving Sophie Mol so much attention, so Rahel sees Velutha as "her own" -- he will continue to give all his attention to Rahel as long as he doesn't see Sophie Mol. (Velutha being the only person who will "love" Rahel more than Sophie Mol, because Rahel feels that "Sophie Mol is loved and Rahel is loved a little less" by the rest of the family.)

Satia, what did you think of this scene in the story??

message 7: by Barbara (last edited Jul 15, 2011 05:41PM) (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments QUESTION FROM SATIA'S POST ON CHAPTERS 8 & 9....

Why does Mammachi despise Margaret Kochamma so much?

I don't have a copy of the book with me at the moment, but it does get into a whole explanation on this. Mammachi has felt that Chacco is "her man" ever since he stopped her husband from beating her. When I say "her man" I don't mean it in a sexual sense (and I doubt that's what they mean in the novel either) but it's clear that she depends upon him tremendously and she would have a difficult time with any woman that he would be with permanently. (Which is why she pays the women he sleeps with -- if she's giving them money, it makes her feel as though he's only with them out of a sexual desire, but there are not any actual "feelings" involved.

I was wondering why Ammu was so rude to Margaret at the "Welcome Home Sophie Mol" party at the house. Any ideas on that one, Satia??? (By the way -- I'm only halfway through chapter 10 at this point.)

message 8: by Barbara (last edited Jul 15, 2011 05:42PM) (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments QUESTION FROM SATIA'S POST ON CHAPTERS 8 & 9....

What does it mean that Ammu "had gifts to give him too?"


message 9: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments I'm mad at myself for leaving my book at home today, because there were a few things that I thought were fascinating in chapters 8 & 9 that I wanted to share here. I'm planning on reading a few more chapters tonight, so my "fascinating things" may not seem as fascinating if there are more explanations in the next chapters, but I'm going to have my book in front of me when I post here tomorrow.

Also, there was a conversation between Rahel and Kachu Maria that I thought was absolutely HILARIOUS and I'll be able to share it here once I have the book with me.

message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments I read all of chapter 10 last night. (I haven't been able to read much lately because by the time I get home from working all day I've been exhausted.) Right now I'm juggling two novels -- A Visit from the Goon Squad and The God of Small Things and I'm enjoying both, but I'm enjoying The God of Small Things more. In fact, I haven't picked up Goon Squad in a few days because I've been so absorbed with God of Small Things.

Anyway, while reading chapter 10 last night, I was so incredibly confused and amazed at the same time. I really think this is the most difficult chapter (so far, anyway.) I highlighted all of the confusing parts with a pink highlighter, and practically the entire chapter is pink now, because so much of it was just baffling.

I brought my book with me today (I hardly ever use my computer at home -- I like to work in cafes with wi-fi -- it forces me to stay focused.) Anyway, I have some work to take care of, but I'm going to come back later or tomorrow to share some of points that I found completely confusing in chapter 10.

Satia -- the first time you read this, did you think chapter 10 was as confusing as I'm finding it???

message 11: by Satia (new)

Satia Barbara,

Leave it to me to be busy just when you are overflowing with questions. Sorry about that. Let's see if I can catch up a bit. And hopefully I won't miss anything but if I do, feel free to nudge me with a reminder that I overlooked something.

How did Sophie mol reveal herself to be human, and how did that revelation affect the twins?

I'm inclined to agree with you, Barbara, when you see her crying as humanizing. I think one of the things it's important to realize is that Sophie Mol is talked about in such an elevated way, as though she were perfect in every way. When the twins meet her, they are dressed up and made to perform, as though she were a dignitary. It's also interesting to note that her complexion is mentioned on several occasions. Given the deeply rooted caste system in India, the fact that she is paler than the twins is not incidental.

Why does Mammachi despise Margaret Kochamma so much?

I completely agree with both of your suggestions. Rahel is as complex as anyone and her feelings of jealousy are rooted in more than one reason. Vehula serves as a sort of father substitute, especially now that Sophie Mol is there and taking all of Chacko's attention.

Why does Mammachi despise Margaret Kochamma so much?

I think that, as with all of the characters, there are so many layers. I would guess that part of Mammachi's resentment has to do with supporting an unmarried woman. Although a familial duty one would never consider neglecting, there's little doubt that many did their duty with great resentment. Perhaps she also resented the "freedom" that Baby Kochamma has as an unmarried woman. I mean, it seems natural that Mammachi, a woman who was abused by her spouse, would resent any woman who had never been forced into marriage.

Why does Mammachi despise Margaret Kochamma so much?

I agree with you again. Definitely a sexual suggestion.

Yes, I found chapter 10 confusing. I am so glad I found the notes I've been sharing because they do make it easier to understand some of the allusions I would normally find too baffling.

Referring back to your question about Ammu and her hostility towards Margaret, I can only guess. Jealousy over another woman intruding on her family dynamic, no doubt. And a foreigner too? Not something so easily accepted. Also, since Chacko married without telling his family, she was probably witness to the distress his decision created. I wonder if some of her jealousy might nto also be related to how Chacko is able to live with a freedom she herself cannot experience. He can marry outside his race, have sex with untouchables and nobody seems to do more than simply look the other way. Of course, it is not only in India that one finds a double standard whereby women are treated differently from men.

Did I cover everything? I hope so. Again, if I missed something, just point out the obvious and I promise not to overlook it all a second time.

message 12: by Serena (last edited Jul 19, 2011 09:37AM) (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments I love that scene when Ammu snapped at Margaret! Here she is, the white lady whom everyone had placed on the pedestal (well it's really Sophie Mol but Margaret being her mother, she gets to be put on the pedestal too) because she is white, white like the oppressors of India, they kiss her butt and try to impress her, while secretly despising her because she IS part of the oppressors. Not only that, she married an Indian man and learned nothing about his culture, making comments about simple basic cultural behaviors as if it was some rare obscure tribal practice. It's annoying, no wonder she got snapped at by Ammu. I love Ammu for that too.

And the fact that Margaret was divorced from Chako, married another man, and still able to show her face and being treated like the Queen of Earth in her ex's house, must have irked Ammu.

I personally think Mammachi's hate toward Margaret is the result of reversed Oedipus Complex. The moment Chako stopped Pappachi from beating Mammachi, Chako became her protector, her next husband, the man of her life. She knows Chako had to get married eventually, I doubt any woman other than Margaret will fare any better with Mammachi. But the pain that Margaret causes in Chako, she being his only love, must causes Mammachi great jealousy and resentment.

message 13: by Satia (new)

Satia Ooh oooh ooooh . . . I need to do a spoiler. Don't read until you've finished the book because what follows isn't fully revealed until the last few chapters of the novel.

(view spoiler)

message 14: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments I wish I could read this book more quickly!!! Now that I'm working full time, I've been so exhausted that I can hardly read more than 20-30 pages per night!!!

Now I can't wait to finish so that I can read that spoiler you just posted!!!!

message 15: by Satia (new)

Satia Muahahahaha!

I know how you feel, however. Last night, I picked up the book and started a chapter and only two pages later my eyes were so heavy and burning with the need to sleep and I was so frustrated because I really wanted to read more.

And I don't even have a job. I just stayed up late and was too tired to read like I usually do before going to bed.

message 16: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments Satia, totally agree. There are so many reasons underlying the unfairness of the 2 situations.

Barbara, so I was incorrect to think Sophie Mol was in a car accident. I don't remember where I read that at the beginning. Once I finish the book, I shall go back and search for it.

message 17: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments I don't know -- maybe I'm just not as smart as I thought I was, because I'm SO CONFUSED about a number of things. I'm in the middle of chap 14 right now, and I will probably finish the book over the weekend (as long as we don't have a black out, which is predicted right now!!! Well, I guess I'll have to use a flashlight if that's the case.)

I want to share here all of the things that are confusing me, but I just haven't had the time because I've been so busy with this job. Maybe sometime over the weekend (maybe even tonight) I'll be able to put some (or all) of my thoughts down here.

Are you both done with chapter 14? If not, I'll try to figure out how to write all my thoughts down as a spoiler. (But I have a feeling you're both done with chap 14 at this point.)

But confused or not, this really is an amazing book. I love it!!! Is Mrs. Dalloway going to seem boring in comparison to this????

message 18: by Satia (last edited Jul 22, 2011 12:57PM) (new)

Satia Mrs. Dalloway is a more delicate book and looks at a single day in a woman's life. It is not as intriguing, per se, but I loved it when I read it.

If we do choose to read that book we'll probably want to create a thread for The Hours as well because the more contemporary novel is so deeply defined without being the least bit derivative that the two read side-by-side would make for a fascinating discussion.

And yes, I've finished chapter 14. In fact, I've finished the book so I'll keep my fingers crossed that there won't be a blackout.

message 19: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments Hi Barbara, I am on chapter 16, so please list your confusion away! I am sure I am probably confused about the same things.

Goodness, I don't know where you live but I certainly hope there won't be a black out anywhere! I had to walk in devastating heat for miles to get home during the blackout of NYC in 2003. It was an very interesting experience alright... :)

message 20: by Satia (new)

Satia I am trying not to chuckle at the moment.

message 21: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments I am curious about your chuckle.

message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments Satia, you're laughing because you probably know what all the confusion is about (because I think you've finished the book, haven't you???)

I can't wait to have some time to share all my thoughts here!!!

Serena -- Are you still in NYC??? That's where I live!!! I'm in the East 40s. I've been living here most of my life (I went to school in Miami for 4 years, and I lived in San Francisco because of my job at the time, from late 1999 to 2003) but I'm a definite "Native New Yorker."

I had recently moved back here when we had that horrible blackout in 2003. But I was very lucky -- I didn't work that day, and I had gone to the gym that day which was only a few blocks from my apt, I had showered and then I went to a coffee shop on my block to get something to eat, which is where I was when all the electricity went out. (I was so glad that I had already showered after my workout, so that I didn't have to shower in the dark!!!)

The only bad thing for me was that I did not have a flashlight, everyone else beat me to it -- every store was completely sold out of flashlights!!! I lived on the 6th floor, and obviously the elevator wasn't working so I had to walk up 6 flights in the dark. But that wasn't nearly as bad as some of my friends who had to walk MILES home from work and then had to walk up 20 or 30 flights of stairs!!! (I lived on the 30th floor in a previous apartment, and the 23rd floor in another previous apt. I was lucky I was only living on the 6th floor for that blackout!!!!)

message 23: by Satia (new)

Satia I was chuckling because I knew you both lived in NYC. :)

message 24: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments D'oh! Oh that's a good laugh for me! Hahahaha! And Satia, you lived here before too!

Yea, I am in Brooklyn now, Prospect Heights to be exact. I have been here since 1989 when I went to Parsons for undergrad. I lived in Manhattan during the school years, but after that, I couldn't afford to live in the city so have been living most of the time all over Brooklyn and few years in Astoria. Which was where I was living during the blackout. I work in Soho so I had to walk across the Queensboro bridge into Astoria, it took 3 hours in the awful heat! But it was very good to see that everyone was so helpful and positive. I was loaned a pair of sneakers by a coworker. Cars were stopping by asking whether anyone needed a ride to wherever they're heading. And on the way home, I saw so many bodegas just giving out beer, soda, water, ice pops, whatever their disabled fridge couldn't hold. People were sitting out on lawn chairs just chilling, drinking, chatting (no TVs and computers), and playing boom boxes. I did go home to one egg as dinner and my silly dog staring at me wondering what all the yahoo's about. LOL!

It was good stuff!

East 40's. That's Murray Hill right? That's nice! Further down is the Indian restaurant area no?

message 25: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments So all three of us are New Yorkers!!! That's pretty cool!!

Believe me, I know what you mean about Manhattan being too expensive. I've always lived here, but I don't know how much longer that will last. Astoria and many parts of Brooklyn are very expensive now too, but not as bad as Manhattan!!

Parsons is a fantastic school! Are you a graphic designer??? I went to the U. of Miami for Journalism and Marketing, but much later (once I was back in NY) I went to The Art Student's League for painting. I plan on going back at some point, but right now it's all about working my butt off in the magazine business until I can get myself back to somewhere NEAR what I once was earning!!!

Actually, I'm just a few blocks north of Murray Hill. I live very close to the United Nations, in a small three block alcove across from the UN called Tudor City. (All the buildings look "sort of" like castles that Henry VIII might have lived in!!!) It's pretty cool. We have our own park with a beautiful garden, and since we're so close to the UN there's a great mix of so many different cultures in this neighborhood.

But Tudor City is just a tiny little neighborhood, so I do a lot of my errands in Murray Hill (which is just a block or two south) or Turtle Bay (which is one block north, and actually I lived in Turtle Bay for a long time.) All are great neighborhoods.

Prospect Heights sounds nice! Is it a long subway ride to the city???

message 26: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments Satia wrote: "Here are the notes for chapters 10 and 11.

Chapter 10

Pectin, Hectin and Abednego
Alluding to the three Jewish heroes who were thrown into the firey furnace by Nebuchadnezzar's servants along..."

OK, I'm not feeling great, but I really want to post as much as I can here because I found chapter 10 SO CONFUSING!!!! This is where I may get kicked out of this group for not being smart enough :o

So, this is the chapter called THE RIVER IN THE BOAT. Here were some things that made no sense to me:

Pg. 185 "As Estha stirred the thick jam he thought Two Thoughts, and the Two Thoughts he thought were these:
(a) Anything can happen to Anyone.
(b) It's best to be prepared.

Why am I confused??? Because at this point in the story, (unless it comes up later -- remember I'm still in chap 14) Estha and Rahel don't know that "Anything can happen to Anyone." I mean, not in the sense that I thought it meant (when this quote was used earlier in the book, from Rahel's POV when she was reflecting back on what happened to Sophie Mol.)

THEN, on Pg. 187, we're told that "Thought Number Three was: (c) A boat.

I'm just wondering why, on the day that Sophie Mol and her mother arrive at their home, Estha becomes obsessed with making jam and thinking about the three things just mentioned. OK, actually, as I'm writing this, I'm wondering if it's because he feels ignored (as does Rahel) by all the attention Sophie Mol is getting, so he wants to just get on a boat and go to the other side of the river.

But then, on page 189, Estha tells Rahel "I'm going to Akkara, to the History House" and then he said "Because Anything can Happen to Anyone" again.

Why are they talking so much about the History House and "Prepare to be prepared" on that particular day???

Here's the other big thing that confused the heck out of me in chap 10 -- when Estha was at the river and Rahel was still at the house, why was she thinking about what he was sitting on -- "Something covered with moss, hidden by ferns" and then she realized that it was a boat and ran out of the house over to where Estha was, and they dug out the boat?

"The boat that Ammu would use to cross the river. To love by night the man her children loved by day. So old a boat that it had taken root." -- so if it's the boat that Ammu used in order to get across the river to meet with Velutha at night, how was it so old and in such bad condition??? And then Velutha helped Estha and Rahel fix up the boat and make it new so it could be used. Well, all of this happened just a week before Sophie Mol was found dead, and at the point that I'm at in the book, Sophie died in the river. (But I don't know exactly how yet.) AND, Velutha's father went to Ammu's mother to accuse Velutha and Ammu of "forbidden things" (that was my wording, not from the book.)

So is it possible that Ammu was only taking the boat across the river for ONE WEEK -- the only week that the boat was in good enough condition to use -- (until they found Sophie dead and Velutha's father saw Velutha & Ammu?) OR, was the boat so old because the affair between Velutha & Ammu was long ago and over by the time Estha and Rahel found the boat, and maybe the idea of being able to take the boat over to Velutha brought Ammu & Velutha back together (but in that case, they were only reunited for one week before the accident and the discovery of their affair????)

I have a million more questions from chapters 11, 12, and 13, but I am feeling so lousy right now (long day of work) so I'll come back to post the rest tomorrow or Sunday.

But I would love to hear both of your comments on my confusion. Either I'm just being impatient and all of these questions will be answered later in the book, OR, I missed something here!!!

message 27: by Satia (new)

Satia Yes, more will make sense as you keep reading but . . .

1) Anything can happen to Anyone
2) It's best to be prepared.

Don't forget that something happened to Estha already at the movie theater so Anything happened to Him and he is trying to be prepared.

The rest will make more sense when you read a little further because at this point the events that have all been leading up to later events begin to spiral at a much faster pace.

message 28: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments hi there!
I did associate Estha's "thought the Two Thoughts" with what happened in the movie theater as well. (Ok, and this is how you make a spoiler alert, this is the fourth time I've forgotten how to do it and looked it up again. Satia, I know I know...) Jullie: "Just write the "spoiler" in front and enclose it in <> brackets, not quotes like I did." (view spoiler)

message 29: by Satia (new)

Satia I took classes at ASL too! There was a Burger King down the street and I never ate fast food so going to ASL doubly a treat. I would go to the classes and take a lunch break and eat a sandwich from a fast food place. Pure decadence.

(view spoiler)

message 30: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments Ahh like the elven cloaks in LOTR...

message 31: by Satia (new)

Satia Around here, elven cloaks are a necessity. It simply doesn't get cold enough to need a lot of heavy things and I'm all about the layers.

I can't wait until my granddaughter is old enough for the movies and the books. But we digress . . . where we were in the discussion of TGoST?

message 32: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments The three of us have so much in common!!! We all took classes at ASL, we all live (or have lived) in NYC and I think we all love New York and art. I know that Satia and I are both in love with the Met Museum, and I have a feeling Serena loves it there too. If no one minds, I'm going to start a NYC thread here, so that we can all share our NY experiences AND we can talk about the ASL and art!!! And our favorite rooms or exhibits at the Met!!! Does anyone mind??? I'll start it, just so that it's there when we want to discuss any of this stuff!!!

message 33: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments I'm already on Chapter 18, and I still know so little about the affair between Velutha and Ammu!!! The boat situation is still really throwing me off, because if they found this old, beaten up boat with holes in it and Estha and Rahel fixed the boat with Velutha's help, then I'm completely confused because the boat was fixed only one week before Ammu and Velutha's affair was revealed!!!

OK, I'll read on, but I do have to say that the boat is frustrating me!!!

message 34: by Serena (last edited Jul 24, 2011 09:43AM) (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments I just ran into a huge problem. I can't finish the book. I got to the part (view spoiler)

message 35: by Satia (new)

Satia Read the last two chapters. The next to last one is in the present and the last one jumps back to the past.

(view spoiler)

message 36: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments Ok, I shall then. So it's ok I skip the last 2 pages of chapter 19?

message 37: by Satia (new)

Satia I don't think anything too imperative occurs. I don't have my copy on hand but I can skim it and verify. But with so much hinted at throughout the book from page one, whatever may or may not be confirmed on those 2 pages is probably already known, even if not clearly.

message 38: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments Satia, you were right. The last 2 chapters are thematically essential, matter of fact, I had goosebumps the whole time I read the last chapter. Lol! (view spoiler)

message 39: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments I finished the book last night, so since both of you have finished it I guess I don't have to worry about spoilers.

There are so many things I want to say about this amazing book, but I have a lot of work to catch up on (yes, I've been working 7 days a week -- there's always so much to do.)

But I will say that I agree with both of you. Baby Kochamma is an absolutey repulsive, horrible, disgusting person. I can't stand her.

I also agree that the last two chapters were beautiful. I loved chapter 20 because the twins seem to finally come to terms with what happened, and of course I agree that the final chapter, chap 21, is absolutely beautiful.

I'm going to go to the section on chapters 15-21 (maybe later, when I'm done with some work -- or maybe I'll just put a few thoughts down now, for the time being) because now I get to read all of the spoilers that Satia put there!!

message 40: by Satia (new)

Satia Serena, See? That is what I most remembered about the novel. The last chapter being perhaps the most erotic and lovely, not pornographic or vulgar but absolutely perfect and yet passionate. Brilliantly written and luscious in every way.

Barbara, I'm glad you agree about how lovely that chapter is. I was worried that I was building it up and expectations might disappoint.

message 41: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments I agree. After the first time I read it, which was near a decade ago, I didn't remember anything from the book except it was super depressing. Now I am older, I can deal with the depressing part and read it for real. :)

message 42: by Anda (new)

Anda | 34 comments Hello ladies, it is a pleasure to meet you!

I have read the book more than three years ago and, as I said in another post (and group), I really loved it. Unfortunately, I do not remember many details, but there is something that still confuses me. I read the Flamingo edition from 1997, and at the page 337 there is a phrase that struck me: “Estha, sitting very straight, waiting to be arrested, takes his fingers to it” (Rahel's mouth). Is that correct what I have understood? That Estha killed Baby Kochamma as Rahel had hoped with one page before?

message 43: by Serena (new)

Serena Huang (marrykatebush) | 259 comments Hi Anda, nice to meet you!

I was also puzzled by that sentence. And I thought Baby Kochamma was the only one left with Kochu Maria in the old house after everyone died or left?

message 44: by Satia (new)

Satia Hello Anda.

(view spoiler)

message 45: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments Hi Anda!! It's so great to see you here!! (I'm the same "Barbara" from the Literary Exploration group!!!)

I'm so happy that you've joined this group! We have some great discussions here, and I think you'll really enjoy it.

I just finished The God of Small Things a couple of nights ago, and I still can't stop thinking about it. I'm going to be adding more thoughts on the chapters 15-21 posts, so I'll make sure I put them in as a spoiler since you said you don't remember many of the details. Are you rereading it?

I'm finding that this is definitely a book worth rereading. If I didn't have so many books on my "to-read" list right now, I would have started the book from the very beginning the minute I finished reading it. It's that kind of book. There are so many hints and puzzles to figure out, and I think rereading it right away would have been a great experience.

Anyway, again, it's so great to see you here!!!

message 46: by Anda (new)

Anda | 34 comments Thank you for welcome Serena, Satia, Barbara! I am actually here, on Barabara's trail :) First, I liked very much your idea of reading and discussing banned books, and then I saw your very interesting comments and opinions. So I decided to join you!

Satia, thank you for explanation. I think you are right! This subtle image of the hand (also a hint) fits better in the whole story than a direct and brutal act of revenge. But at the moment when I read this book, I was not able to make the connection :(

Barabara, I am not rereading it, but I will definitely do it. I had the same feeling, that being overwhelmed by the beauty of Arundhati Roy's style and story, I missed a lot of these small things that harmoniously create the entire. This book hits your senses first, but then you need some time to think, to intellectually enjoy the wonderful art and technique of playing with ... microscopic pieces. This book reminds me a lot of Nabokov's "Ada or Ardor", Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle, a challenging chef d'oeuvre, which I hope I'll be able to reread and discuss with you (although "Ada or Ardor" was never banned, it still is very controversial).

message 47: by Satia (new)

Satia I had thought about our possibly creating other threads for discussion and I don't see why we couldn't have "controversial" books discussed here as well in an unofficial capacity. For instance, we could have the official "banned/challenged" book for each month and then an alternate "controversial" book which would then allow members to choose between the two books. The only problem is that there are only a few people actively involved in the discussions as it is and I am not sure if division will result in more dialog or less.

message 48: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments Satia, I think that's a great idea! I'm thinking there may be a few different ways of doing this --

1) A "controversial" book thread, which would be open for discussion on any and all controversial books. More like a general discussion where we could share our thoughts on controversial books we've read or we are thinking of reading. For example, someone can post that they recently read a specific controversial book, and the discussion would go from there, but as we're talking about the first book that was mentioned, another controversial book could be mentioned (or a new thread could be started for the next book)-- so there could be numerous threads with names of different books under a general thread on "Controversial Books."

2) Based on the way you described it, it sounds as though we would pick one controversial book to discuss at a time. I think that's a good idea too, but as you had mentioned since there are so few of us here we may not be able to get a lively enough discussion on two books at one time. (But we can certainly try it!!)

message 49: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (barbarasc) | 168 comments Hi Anda! Thank you!!! I'm very happy that you're here on my trail!!

I would love to read Ada, or Ardor: A Family Chronicle at some point.

Satia's idea of adding a thread on Controversial Books which were not actually banned is a great idea, and a good way of getting to read and discuss a wider variety of books here in this group.

I know that The Great Gatsby was considered to be very controversial pretty recently!! In some suburban towns throughout the US there were parents who wanted the book to be taken off the high school reading list, and in some cases the parents won (and the book was removed from the reading list) but I don't believe it was ever a "banned book."

message 50: by Satia (new)

Satia If it was pulled from a school library collection, it would fall under the "banned" flag and we could add it to the next month's poll.

There are so many controversial books, like James Frey's A Million Little Pieces or The Sparrow, but there is a blurry line because where there is outcry against a book it typically soon follows that there will be some school forced to pull it from the bookshelves. And obviously, what one person finds controversial might not even cause another to blink an eye to blush.

But the general discussion thread is open to all things. Should I make a folder for controversial but not banned books? I mean, even if we don't officially choose more than one book a month, there's no reason members can't say "Look, I'm going to read this book and I wondered if anyone else wanted to join me."

I certainly would never discourage anyone from reading and discussing literature!

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