The story of an impossible love seen mostly through the eyes of a twin couplet, Estha and Rahel, separated at the age of 7 after a terrible incident involving their mother, Ammu, and that meet again when they are in their thirties.
I bought the book for 2 reasons:
- I heard its mantra: “…the Love Laws, which decide who can be loved. And how. And how much.” somewhere (the radio?)
- It’s a Man Booker prize winner (I don’t believe in the correlation between prizes and book value, but this one prize has guided me well so far)
A fierce reflection on the human condition, taking place in contemporary India. Reminded me so much of Midnight’s Children for the images, the folklore. No magic here though. That’s Rushdie’s thing. Roy’s is slicing the story into pieces and putting them back together, like Don DeLillo. The story is told by mixing up present and past events, with the core of the narration finding place only in the last pages. Just in the perfect position to steal a tear or two from the sensitive reader.
Powerful metaphors (the moth, the History House) and poetic images (the birthmark that makes the monsoon come on time every year), memorable characters (Ammu, Baby Kochamma, Velutha, Estha and Rahel, comrade Pichai, Chacko, the lemonade man, Sophie Mol).
Minor critique: The main events are highly anticipated, to the point of cruelty, but in some instances, this procedure becomes almost annoying (“Is this big thing gonna happen or not?”).
Quite sad and very powerful. Highly recommended.