The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (1997)
Not only did this win Arundati Roy the Booker Prize, but it made her the biggest-selling non-expat Indian writer in Britain at the time. The God of Small Things, in other words, was a very big thing indeed.
It is, first and foremost, a story of childhood, set in Kerala, India, during the political turmoil of the 1960s. Rahel and Estha are twins doing their best to negotiate a weird world of adult imperfection that they can't quite understand.
And from there grows a novel that provided as warm and powerful a slice of Indian life as anything that the British reading public had read before.
“[It's] a novel that turns out to be as subtle as it is powerful, a novel that is Faulknerian in its ambitious tackling of family and race and class, Dickensian in its sharp-eyed observation of society and character,” wrote New York Times critic Michiko Kakutani." It became the literary sensation of the 1990s.
Image: Ryan MacEachern/Penguin
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