This book has been on my TBR list for years, finally encouraged by recent review posted at middle, beginning & end I decided enough is enough and started reading it.
The book tells a story of twins Rahel and Estha in the context of their family history, history of India, and social environment in which they function as children. The story is told from the perspective of grown up Rahel coming back home years later and recounting events that set direction of their life.
What I really liked about the book was the language, intertwining serious and even grandiose with ironic. Roy not only paints pictures with words, she addresses every sense not just sight – she describes smells, texture of things, in a way that creates a three dimensional image. What makes it even more convincing is that Roy is not afraid to mix the beautiful with disgusting, just like it mixes in real life. Still the descriptions have lyrical quality, like slow motion movie, the book moved me more on sensual than emotional level.
Coming to emotional I agree with middle, beginning & end it is difficult to connect with the characters. For me it was a bit like they are part of an elaborate fresco, but they’re too far away for me to sympathize with them completely. The one I reacted to most was the bitter Baby Kochamma, hating the whole world but at the same time bound by the same rules as other characters, only she never dared to go against them and it seems that she enjoys failures of those who did.
Still I think it was worth reading for the exquisite descriptions and masterful use of registers to move from pickles to contemplating the world and back to pickles.
Photo by Violetta Kaszubowska