I will be honest, the first thing that attracted me to this book was the cover.”Winner of the booker prize” came quite secondary.
Rarely does one come across a book that is as poetic as its cover.
I would like to start by stating that this is not your typical narrative. Written from the perspective of omniscience, it becomes quickly apparent that the narrator is intimately familiar with the characters in question.
There is colloquialism, a lot of it, and the history behind it – a lot of it. Its prose is written in such a way that the terminology slips right in. It flows smoothly, and its meanings are difficult to forget.
The story is far from linear. You could say it was written from the end. Or during, or even the beginning. The narrator is so closely intertwined that there’s a key sense that they’ve already happened – an inevitability, or even destiny.
All this makes it difficult to believe that this prize winner is a debut novel. Destiny indeed it was for author Arundhati Roy.
From page one I was in love.
“May in Ayemenem is a hot, brooding month. The days are long and humid. The river shrinks and black crows gorge on bright mangoes in still, dustgreen trees. Red bananas ripen. Jackfruits burst. Dissolute bluebottles hum vacuously in the fruity air. Then they stun themselves against clear windowpanes and die, fatly baffled in the sun..”
There is so much skill in that prose I don’t even know where to begin. Bring mangoes? Dustgreen trees?
It makes me feel like a bluebottle against a clear windowpane, dying…fatly baffled in the sun. From start to finish I was mesmerised. Some would say maybe the narrative was too slow, but there was foreshadowing, and then there was love.
The novel encompassed so many emotions, that even if it let me down, it wouldn’t disappoint.
The book follows the narrative of Ammu, a single mother, and her children, filled with regret after having loved the wrong man. Her two dizygotic twins, Estha and Rahel, joined by a vaginal cavity, separated by the world. The children are amazing, split from the regrets of their mother by their innocence. They aren’t separate identities, not a him, not a her. A we, and an Us.
Their love, and their pain is palpable, separated from one another and alone – it is only when they once again encounter one another that as empty as they are – they become alive.