Thursday, May 5, 2011


The imagery and lyrical language evoke the Indian landscape beautifully, but for me the prose was too choppy, and the same goes for the plot. The author tells the story in bits and pieces ("small things") non-sequentially with insufficient clues sometimes as to whether the main characters, Rahel and her fraternal twin brother Estha, are children or adults. Also, the death of their cousin Sophie bisects their childhood into before and after. Sophie's funeral takes place at the beginning, and the rest of the book tells of the events leading up to her death and to the banishment of Estha to live with his father. One of the repeated themes in the book is that we talk about the small things and leave the big things unsaid. This truism and numerous other phrases and images, including descriptions of Estha's and Rahel's hairdos, are repeated throughout the book in different settings. From the title I would think perhaps that this is the story of the small things that compose the characters' lives, but the horrific defining events are actually quite big things. The book is supremely sad, and I'll never look at a movie theatre snack counter in quite the same way again.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

this is funny because I was buying books the other day and the guy behind the counter raved about this book and I ended up pretending I had read it (I got confused and by then it was too late to correct him) I did make a note to actually read though, thanks for the review