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3,9 von 5 Sternen406
3,9 von 5 Sternen
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am 27. Dezember 1999
I remember an unusually well-read American friend of mine telling me that this book has been a revealation to him about the qualities of indo-english writers and also the complex and broad cultural spectrum of India the country. That was an year ago in LA. And immediately after that, another chap, a fellow Marquez and Rushdie fan, warned me about the pretentiousness and juvenile linguistic juglaries that are shamelessly repeated throuhout the novel. I guess both of them are right.Her absurdly beautiful language has really brought alive the bucolic beauties of 'God's own country' Kerala. Nature, both pristine and humane,are seamlessly inter-woven around each other. And she has honestly tried to face the major cultural dilemmas of post-colonial India ; what all are to remain 'pure' and untouched and what all are to be sold ? Check out the chapter where she brillaintly describes the trauma of a 'Kathakali' dancer( a traditional folk dance)who exhibits himself in front of the modern world of tourists to earn his leaving. I found it a very potent symbol of India's own problems.Maybe Roy didn't intend it to be so.
When it's expected that the whole world will go ga-ga over all these positive aspects, it's surprising nobody seems to notice the very obvious flaws in this novel. No matter what you say, a novel is about story-telling( from Cerventes to Fuentes, that's the way it has been). And she hasn't yet learnt that. There is no underlying rhythm in the time-travels we encounter all so very often. Even to give your plot a semblance to the incoherent tricks that memory play, you actually have to 'construct' that incoherence. At places, it seemed like a William Burroughs 'book'. And then, the annoying repetition of what another reviewer says as 'Bratspeak'. Also the plethora of words starting with capital letters. Confusing. An extremely superficial reference to Conrad's 'Heart of Drakness'. Disgusting. Other than Ammu and to some extent Chacko, not a single character is well-developed. They lack in dimensions and richness offeelings. Cardboard-persons. The inexplicable emotional links between the dizygotic twins is a very vain attempt to invoke Marquez-like magical atmosphere. Unsuccessful. So, only 3 stars.
And one more thing, if you're not an Indian and you honestly want to have a literary experience of the panorama of progress and anglophilia and terror and communalism and 'settled in abroad' achievers that is the modern India, check out 'The Shadow Lines' by Amitav Ghosh . Forget Roy or Vikram Seth. He is the second best alive Indo-Engligh writer, after Rushdie, obviously. And also try out Rohinton MIstry's 'A Fine Balance'. He is the best Dickens after Charles DIckens.
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am 12. Dezember 2003
This is one of the most sensitive, intense books I have read in the last few years. It reminded me a little of H. Hesse "Siddhartha" because the main story also takes place in India. In this book we get to know about a family - tragedy out of love and at the same time about the caste system in India. This combination of fiction and reality is what makes this book astonishingly relevant. The suspense of this book is created through the subtext, the more we get to know about the characters the more we are able to understand the inevitability of the world breaking down around the characters.
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am 12. Juli 2000
With so many excellent reviews of this fantastic book this will be brief. This is a true masterpiece written in truely beautiful poetic language.
This is very sad tale of two generations of a well to do family of Syrian Christian Indians. Relatives from the West visit and lives are never the same again. It is also a tale of the cast culture and the untouchables and of many people and events that cross the path of the main "tale"
Roy's prose is beautiful. Her ability to create truly vivid images is extraordinary. I took so much pleasure in her description of the many fine details of the lives of her characters. Her unique style of writing that keeps going back to earlier images to revive them in the mind of the reader was most enjoyable.
If you like a clear plot and fast action this book is definitely not for you. There is no plot per se, events unfold very slowly most of the time with lots of digression. I loved that it, it gave me time to build an image in my mind and that image kept on getting developed and refined. The main charachters are sketched but not always in total, this comes across as a given, so you don't miss it.
I absolutely can not wait to read more of her work.
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am 6. April 2005
This is the first book I have read by this author and I am glad that it is his debut book. The story is lovely and convinced me that Arundhati Roy is a great storyteller. Many of the characters are rich and original and the story is full of credible twists and turns, making it the interesting read that readers are always looking for.
This fascinating novel that is set in India in the late 60s begins with the funeral of a cousin of the novel's narrator. Rahelas she is called shares with her twin brother Estha share family secrets that are masterfully presented to the reader in this gripping, suspenseful and revealing prose that is told from the point of a child. Rich in characters and an amazing plot, The God of Small Things takes you into the fascinating setting of India , its politics, rich culture , unique social and caste system, numerous taboos, and its turbulent rich which all have an influence on the characters of the story. A highly recommended read:
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am 9. April 2000
The God Of Small Things, a novel by Arundhati Roy, is a tragic story that gives insight into the effects of India's political/social problems on the everyday family in their everday lives; the ways in which these problems can destroy both rich and poor. Through the eyes of a wealthy Syrian Christian family in Kerala, the dynamics of the Indian caste system are revealed, as well as the punishments for those who violate its rigid boundaries. Even those who claim to stand up for the untouchables, hold them back, because they greedily climb through politics to reach higher social status. The novel flips back and forth in time, which allows the story to unravel with much intrigue. The constant foreshadowing kept me wondering what exactly was going to happen, and how, and why. Roy's use of stream of conciousness allows the novel to come alive. It gives me a personal connection to the characters and a light hearted feel in some not so light hearted moments. Her vivid imagery makes it easy to invision the scenes, as if I am watching a movie. It allows me to completely forget that it is only a book, that there is no real reason to laugh, no real reason to cry. She also makes multiple allusions that give the novel a contemporary feel which made me realize that not all of India is built of poor tribes, but that there are in fact areas with reasonable amounts of technology and advancement. When she tells a story it is somehow magickal. It draws me in and leaves me spellbound. No matter how the family broke the love laws it did not disgust me; instead I somehow understood their feelings, even when what happened was against my basic values. It amazes me that an author could have the ability to catch me off guard and overstep my morals, and allow me, for a moment, to accept what I have always considred unacceptable. I finished the novel wanting to read it again, and wishing that I had written it. In reading the novel for a second time, it still took hold of my emotions and carried me through it with an equal amount of excitement and anticipation. Arundhati Roy truly reached with this novel her definition of a great story: "...the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don't deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don't suprise you with the unforeseen.... In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn't. And yet you want to know again"(218). The first time around the novel takes twists and turns and some actions can not be foreseen but all stories began that way, one day. Sometimes I pick up the book on any page and just start reading, just for a moment, to catch another glimpse of that other world which the novel holds. I get a second to stop and smirk or smile and feel wonderful things. Even though I know it, inside and out, I want to know it again. The God Of Small Things is truly an amazing work of art, sculpted from eloquent language and an amazing understanding of the human heart.
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am 18. Januar 2000
I read this book on January 13, 1998. I read it again just last month. I haven't changed my opinion. I have read the 460+ reviews that followed my first nearly two years ago. I was glad to read all of the comments harsh or heralding. This book is not ordinary and I think if placed side by side with most others, may prove to be disappointing to many. So don't compare it to anything and read it for what it is.
It is as awkward as the minds of each and every character illustrated in the 321 pages of the book. Nothing is simple or clear cut. Life isn't that way so why should anyone expect this book be neat and clean? It's not. In fact it gets down right ugly and dirty. That is the beauty of it.
I think the one thing that amazes me with readers is their lack of patience. Intertwined with all the jumping between time references and all the unfinished points trying to be made, it is telling a story. Like a child who tries to tell their impatient parent about the six million things that happened from minute one of their day, this story teller attempts to give you all the information with as much enthusiasm and self importance. As with any child, the story teller will digress an infinite number of times before the events have been completely accounted for. Step out of your own ego long enough to be able to receive it. And be patient! There may be some painfully vivid discription of events. There are moments you will laugh. You may want to cry in anger or frustration and even stop reading but you wont stay away for long. You can't.
If you feel any of these things after reading the book then the efforts of Ms. Roy to convey her story will most certainly have been a success! I don't think the story was intended to make a statement about Communism or even the caste system. What does a child know of these things? In India I saw children playing side by side with each other with little or no regard for political affiliations. It's just a story people. Enjoy the courageuous effort it took to tell it.
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am 2. Mai 2000
The God of Small Things, Roy's first book is full of new ideas and a writing style I have never yet encountered. She draws you on in her amazingly descriptive writing style and interesting use of sentences. The story itself is filled with humour, compassion, bitter cruelty, and shock, and makes certain that it reaches into your soul and rips out your emotions. The facts are not clear initially, as Roy jumps throughout time, back and forth; yet near the closing chapters all the facts fall into place and we become aware of the writer's brilliant craftsmenship at connecting time periods and details. The well-rounded characters develop through the harrowing circumstances in which they are involved, and it is obvious that Roy understands and includes the true natures of people, both good AND evil and one often has to step back from the book and marvel at how she cuts through all the layers of pretence and reveals what many people really are. Issues include Communism, a detailed and genuine potryal of India and the Caste system-and how it affects the characters of the book. I recommend this book for anyone seeking to read a book of true genius and genuine understanding of what it is to live in a world of prejudice and assumption.
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am 1. April 1999
I picked up this book last year and after the first 50 pages got tired by its endless cast of characters. I put it down but returned to it several months later. The second visit was totally magical. Ms Roy has a unique ability to capture a whole time and place not only by her characters, but by making the English language come to life in a manner that few contemporary writers in the English language can or will allow themselves to. Undoubtedly there are moments in the book that deviate from the emotional tautness delivered by most of its prose, e.g., the last chapter that describes sexual situations in a style reminescent of Harlequin romances , but those are forgiveable intrusions. The book leaves you speechless for most of the part by its emotional impact and its style. Ammu's final visit to Rahel may have been short and precisely presented, but it wrapped the reader in emotions that were so overpowering, yet fragile. I read AS Byatt a few days after I finished "God of small things" and Byatt's style and subjects seemed so tiny and dead in comparison.
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am 25. November 2004
The God of small things is a book which impressed me deeply. I was touched by the way of living of these people in india. How they had a strange way of looking and dealing with live and their destination. The autor A. Roy is a very gifted writer. Although she jumpes from the past to the present every so often, which makes it hard to read the book, the reader must be very attentive! A. Roy often writes in a style of `stream of conciousness` (which reminds us of James Joyce). It is a hard book to read
but once you get into it you can`t put it down.
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am 8. Mai 2000
what an awfully tiresome book. what is there here that hasn't been said, much less tritely, before. it is made that much more maudlin by the cloying manner with which all and sundry behave towards each other. there was nary an original character or original thought. how novel to see another plucky protaganist who bears no responsibility for anything that goes wrong in her life; ah, the rare-explored mysteries of twin-hood; yet more about the oppressed indian woman (which, naturally, justifies the philandering mother). there are flashes of originality, of gothic arabasque, but as a whole, i cannot dis-recommend this book enough. about india, read vikram seth; about families, anita desai (or wallace stegner); funky prose, rushdie, maybe (or back to joyce?).
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