The God Small Things by Arundhati Roy is one of my favorite books. So naturally, I was over the moon when it was announced that Arundhati Roy has a new book coming out in June: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.This will be Roy's first novel in the twenty years since The God of Small Things came out in 1997. So there is a lot to get excited about.
The God of Small Things is set in Kerala, India in 1969. We follow fraternal twins — Esthappen and Rahel — the children of a single woman (their Ammu) who fled an abusive relationship to live with her family. As the story unfolds, the twins make fateful discoveries about life, love, and how secrets can ripple across a family and across a life.
Every sentence of The God of Small Things is exquisitely crafted. The novel is constructed with perfect grace, with phrases that build on and call back to each other throughout, so that the story feels like it was built with the architectural precision of a building.
So, as we gear up to devour Roy's new novel, here are some gorgeous quotes from The God of Small Things that will remind you just how enchanting her writing is.
1"That it really began in the days when the Love Laws were made. The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much.”
2“When you hurt people, they begin to love you less. That’s what careless words do. They make people love you a little less.”
3"Things can change in a day."
4"With the certitude of a true believer, Vellya Paapen had assured the twins that there was no such thing in the world as a black cat. He said that there were only black cat-shaped holes in the Universe."
5“...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 surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again. That is their mystery and their magic.”
6“It is curious how sometimes the memory of death lives on for so much longer than the memory of the life that is purloined. ”
7“He folded his fear into a perfect rose. He held it out in the palm of his hand. She took it from him and put it in her hair.”
8“It was a time when the unthinkable became the thinkable and the impossible really happened."
9“Being with him made her feel as though her soul had escaped from the narrow confines of her island country into the vast, extravagant spaces of his. He made her feel as though the world belonged to them — as though it lay before them like an opened frog on a dissecting table, begging to be examined.”
10"Smells, like music, hold memories. She breathed deep, and bottled it up for posterity."
11“He could do only one thing at a time. If he held her, he couldn't kiss her. If he kissed her, he couldn't see her. If he saw her, he couldn't feel her.”
12“Biology designed the dance. Terror timed it. Dictated the rhythm with which their bodies answered each other. As though they already knew that for each tremor of pleasure they would pay with an equal measure of pain. As though they knew that how far they went would be measured against how far they would be taken.”
13"She was perhaps too young to realize that what she assumed was her love for Chacko was actually a tentative, timorous, acceptance of herself."
14“Some things come with their own punishments. Like bedrooms with built-in cupboards. They would all learn more about punishments soon. That they came in different sizes. That some were so big they were like cupboards with built-in bedrooms. You could spend your whole life in them, wandering through dark shelving.”
15“And the air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say. But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said. Big Things lurk unsaid inside.”