I’m drawn to tragic tales. Ultimate sacrifices. Unhappy endings. Take a look at my Top Ten and you’ll see some prime examples. Even so, I’m struggling with The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Roy is a sensational writer, and the book is exquisitely crafted and beautifully tragic. I’m not struggling to get through it; I’m struggling against it. The God of Small Things doesn’t have “weight” as much as it has “mass” or “density.” Not a density in terms of language, but a density in terms of pull. I feel something similar to gravity working on me when I open the book. The story is a Law of Nature, irresistable and unavoidable. The downward pull is so strong that I’ve been forced to reach out for a buoy in the form of a mass market paperback. I took advantage of a recent trip to the library with my kids and checked out Exile, the fourth book in the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series (the library didn’t have the first three). I’m drawn to the darker elements of Star Wars, too (my favorite episode has always been Empire Strikes Back), but alternating between the two books is like escaping from a black hole back into open space. It’s a relief. I find that I can enjoy both books better this way. The Star Wars book alone wouldn’t be satisfying, but taking The God of Small Things straight, like a pound of solid dark chocolate, is too rich. Mass market paperbacks are the knusperkeks of the indulgent reader’s fare!
Archive for Arundhati Roy
A couple of days ago, for reasons unknown, I decided to deviate from my reading list and started reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (I also need to amend my list to include Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy). Roy introduces her protagonists, Estha and Rahel, twins who share a “Siamese soul,” at the same age (31) at which their mother died. Roy goes on to describe the age of 31 as “Not young. Not old. A viable die-able age.” I just happened to be reading this on the morning of my thirty-first birthday. Is that merely an alarming coincidence or fate? I wasn’t planning on reading this book anytime soon, let alone on my birthday while waiting to go out to breakfast with my wife. What are the odds of this being a random occurrence versus that of it being a portent? Who can say? All I know is it’s a curious event worth adding to my blog!