Monday, March 23, 2009

Good reading

I finished Arundhati Roy's "The God of Small Things" a few days ago and I will send it out via BookCrossing to a friend. This book has stuck with me for the writing. Roy is a wonderful wordsmith as well as a good story teller.

I am a big fan of those writers who have Indian backgrounds. I don't know what makes their use of the English language so compelling. Perhaps it is the fact that there is a shared language but that Roy brings a whole different way of using English based on the idiom of another language. I suppose other writers who speak other languages and who also write in English have a similar effect. Somehow, though, I find the Indian writers have something very colorful and musical underlying their words.

The following quote is taken from a scene in which anxious parents and frightened children crowd a waiting room which is separated from the street by a curtain:

"The slow ceiling fan sliced the thick, frightened air into an unending spiral that spun slowly to the floor like the peeled skin of an endless potato."

The image has stayed with me since I read it. It conveys India to my senses as well as the conditions in which the people live. This book was full of imagery like this and it was always spot-on and powerful.


Penny said...

Isn't it wonderful how different we all are! I read this book and vowed that I would never again read a Booker prize-winning book. I thought the writing was pretentious and the writer was just showing off - and it interfered with my enjoyment. Vive la difference!

Anonymous said...

I also loved the book, especially Roy's descriptions, and I recommended it to many people when I worked as a librarian in a public library.
Stephanie, have you read any Anita Rau Badami? She is also great. I heard her read from her most recent novel at VPL last year.



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