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Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things: 'Real' Possibilities in Postcolonial Literature By Frederick Luis Aldama
"Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things: 'Real' Possibilities in Postcolonial Literature"
"Arundhati Roy" echoes loud and mightily through the halls of world literary pantheons. In October 1997, her novel The God of Small Things picked up Britain's prestigious Booker Prize, billowing up a storm of fame and infamy. The first South Asian woman (and Indian citizen) to take home that award coincided with India's fifty-year celebration of independence from Britain, two facts that led many a roiled author and critic to claim it an act of Booker paternalism and a great deed of imperial retribution. Also, when news spit-fired across newspaper headlines worldwide that Roy had accumulated two-plus-million dollars in publishing advances from the rights to publish her prizewinning novel in nineteen countries (it has since been translated into twenty-seven languages), many chose to guffaw instead of applaud.
With such puffed up pandemonium permeating the publication of The God of Small Things, it is understandable that Roy has not put forth another novel. (Often, the only way for incipiently published writers--postcolonial or otherwise--to quiet the naysayers is to issue a "brilliantly successful" second novel.) This isn't to say that Roy has abstained from writing. She has been typing up reams, but in the form of hard-biting political essays. Published in a variety of scholarly and mainstream journals--many of which have been published as collections such as Power Politics (2001) and War Talk (2003)--her essays variously attack global capitalism and its nefarious consequences (a case in point being the multi-million dollar Sardar Sarovar Dam project in western India that is displacing millions of people), the role of the IMF in the spreading and deepening of poverty, the significance of nuclear bomb tests in India, and cronyism and corruption in the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party). In one such essay titled, "The End of Imagination", Roy asks how it is possible for the Indian government to spend millions of dollars developing and building nuclear bombs when over 400 million citizens in India live in poverty and remain illiterate.
If the post-Booker Arundhati Roy put on hold the writing of fiction, she has been penning indispensable essays that call out social injustices and that cry out for the basic implementation of democratic demands: for all to have access to decent jobs and decent wages, food, shelter, transportation, education, medical services--and for all to have the right to freedom of expression, organization in trade unions and political parties, and to real representation. As she points out in one of her essays, it is imperative that India have "more modernity, not less [. . .] more democracy, not less" (War Talk 12). Indeed, without more democracy, without the people's freedom and organized capacity to put a stop to the disastrous present course of building and testing nuclear bombs, waging war between nations, and spreading corruption at all levels of government and the rest of society, not only will the people continue to suffer, but all that civilization holds sacred--science, ethics, music, art, literature--will be destroyed. As a writer today, Roy believes the fight for social equality and justice must come first in order to insure that the sculpting of fiction can follow.
In 1997, Arundhati Roy appeared as if out of nowhere, but of course, we all come from somewhere. In 1960, Arundhati Roy was born in the multicultural masala pot, Kerala, India, aswarm with Hindu, Muslim, and Christian peoples. Herself the daughter of a Bengali Hindu father, Rajib, and a Syrian Christian mother, Mary, meant that a deep sense of cultural relativism and sensitivity were the order of her childhood. Also, growing up surrounded by her mother's books (a school teacher) and having the middle class means provided by her father (a tea plantation overseer) meant that Roy would eventually end up at the university in New Delhi. Here, however, rather than study literature or writing, she chose the path of architecture. With her degree in hand, she worked a stint for the National Institute of Urban Affairs, but soon tired of its humdrum politics and affairs. As chance would have it, another door opened for Roy--that of the arts. She landed a small role in her husband-to-be, Pradeep Krishen's film, Massey Saab. With her appetite for the arts wetted, she began writing screenplays and documentary film scripts. Several made it into production, such as Electric Moon (produced by Channel Four in 1992) and In Which Annie Gives it Those Ones. Also during this period, she began publishing essays on art and culture: "The Great Indian Rape Trick" blazed a trail of vitriolic critique against director Sekar Kapur's misrepresentation of Phoolan Devi in Bandit Queen.
Roy's involvement in the early 1990s with the arts in India, as she tells Taisha Abraham, were "warming up exercises" (90) for the writing of The God of Small Things. And, once she sat down and began to write the novel, she couldn't plug its torrent of words for four and half years. More than acting, screenplay writing, and essayistic critiquing, it was the writing of the novel, as she states in several different interviews, which allowed her to give creative and memorable shape to the complex world she wanted to bring to life in the minds of her readers (see, for instance, her interview with Praveen Swami in Frontline, July 26-August 8, 1997.) By May 1996, Roy handed a finished manuscript to fellow novelist Pankaj Mishra, an editor for HarperCollins India. He considered it the first masterpiece to appear since Rushdie's Midnight's Children. The result: by April 4th, 1997, it had already begun to fill bookstore shelves in India and soon after those of Europe and the United States.
Months before winning the Booker, The God of Small Things received a blaze of media attention--good and bad. Many celebrated the novel's storytelling inventiveness and postcolonial historical revisionism, the narrative seen as implicating British imperialism and Christianity as deepening the oppressive caste system. New York Times Book Review critic Alice Truax celebrated Roy's "shape-shifting" narrative and her use of "rogue capital letters, nonsense rhymes and unexpected elaborations" (91). And, Ramlal Agarwal was especially appreciative of Roy's lack of "sentimentality" (209). However, there were also many a disgruntled critic. Paul Rutman considered the novel derivative, wishing that "some kind soul had confiscated all copies of James Joyce when Ms. Roy was a little girl" (Electronic Telegraph 585). In the New Statesman; Amanda Craig expressed irritation at Roy's "wonky" style and her fondness for "capitalized clichés". Rankled by Roy's "overwrought" style John Updike concluded that this was "one more example of William Faulkner's powerful influence upon Third World writers, his method of torturing a story, mangling it, coming at it roundabout after pretentious detours and delays" (The New Yorker 159). Others were more than critical of Roy's emplotting of a caste transgressive act: the forbidden sexual encounter between the Touchable Ammu and the Untouchable Velutha; one lay-reader even filed a suit against Roy; and others turned to violent protest, attempting to ban its sale in bookstores across India. Many an Indian media pundit expressed dismay at Roy's "filthy" and backward representation of Kerala. And, some held the novel accountable for misrepresenting historical fact. (See, for example, Aijaz Ahmad's critique of her representation of the communist party that appeared in Frontline on July 26.)
The God of Small Things certainly did more than simply survive its bad-faith criticism, selling over six million copies to date. (A recent BBC reader poll voted it one of Britain's 100 best-loved novels.) Perhaps, then, there is more to the novel than first meets the mainstream media eye. Perhaps there is more to Roy as an author who photographs well (many critics commented on her photogenic marketability as one of the reasons for her success). Perhaps there is more in that book than was picked up by the knee-jerk reactions to "yet another novel" of the postcolonial exotic. Perhaps Roy's case fits Amanda Craig's description: "The Indian novelist is confronted with a paradox. Our feelings about India are so complex that a novel is rarely judged on its own merits rather than on a mixture of guilt, anger, defiance and sneaking envy. Those such as Rushdie, who stress the exotic, profit by it; Rohinton Mistry, on the other hand, is accused of writing flat prose--presumably because critics, when confronted with a thick book about poor people, simply cannot cope with too much reality" (49).
Not only was The God of Small Things swarmed by mainstream media criticism, but in a remarkably short period after its publication there appeared a glut of academic scholarship on the novel--especially in India. With Prestige Books in New Delhi, R.K. Dhawan published an edited collection of essays titled Arundhati Roy: The Novelist Extraordinary (1998); Indira Bhatt and Indira Nityanandam published the collection Explorations: Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things (1998); and editors Jaydipsinh Dodiya and Joya Chakravarty followed closely by publishing their collection entitled The Critical Studies of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things (1999). This interest did not cease. In 2001, R.S. Pathak published another collection, The Fictional World of Arundhati Roy. The novel seemed to provide the reflective surface many an Indian scholar sought to sound out different theoretical readings: Feminist, Postcolonial (Bhabhaean inter dicta and/or Saidean orientalist), Deconstructivist, Marxist, New Historicist, Bakhtinian, post-Freudeanist, Nativist, and, well, you name it. Whether to do with the fact that the novel's appearance coincided with postcolonial studies hitting a strong mid-stride in the academy worldwide or with other factors, in a matter of only a couple of years dozens upon dozens of essays were written on The God of Small Things. So many had so much to analyze about the novel that, on one occasion, Praveen Swami remarked how all the criticism was telling us more about the critics then about "the book itself" (102).
Many such scholars were particularly interested in focusing on the text as a "Thirdworld" artifact swept up into a global book marketplace, variously critiquing a so-identified exotic packaging and a suspect "orientalist" representational politics; alluding to Kurtz's going native, one such scholar considered that the novel had gone "international", for example. Other scholars turned their critical gaze from the novel ("empire-writes-back" or not) to the critics themselves. Elleke Boehmer turns her critique toward those critics from the West who judge the book's value in terms of a European novel (civilized) versus a South Asian novel (primitive and hypersexualized) that reproduces an age-old orientalism. Boehmer states how such criticism--even if laudatory--abstracts, stereotypes, and exoticizes "the once-colonized" and is thus "commodified and made safe for a western readership" (67). To reclaim the novel and its author from acts of "neo-Orientalism" (88), Boehmer situates it within a 19th-century tradition of Indian writing, specifically linking it to Sarojini Naidu's poetry--a South Asian author who wrote within a Western-identified poetic tradition but against the West's "tropicalization" of South Asia.
Of course, there also appeared on the horizon many scholars who chose to explore the novel's anti-colonial (and anti-patriarchal) representational features. Given the author's gender and the novel's focus on (mostly) female characters, much of the South Asian postcolonial scholarship used Western feminist approaches (poststructuralist and otherwise) to tease out the novel's resistant texture and its against-the-grain narrative sensibility. For example, M.K. Ray turns to a Luce Irigirayean "gynocriticism" in an exploration of how narrative technique (stream of consciousness, for example) and voice (syntax and rhythm, for instance) express a resistant feminine psyche that is, Ray states, "so different from that of men" (105). The time leaps, syntactic re-configurations, and narrative tempo reflect, Ray continues, "the fractured sensibility and the broken and fragmented world of women" (106). Other scholars such as Anita Singh more deliberately couple the novel to a postcolonial feminist frame, reading how the novel powerfully moves those who are otherwise kept at silent margins, such as women, children and Untouchables--or, as Singh writes, "all those dispossessed of an identity or a speaking voice" (133)--to authoritative narrative centers. For Singh, Roy's retrieval of subaltern voices becomes a postcolonial "act of liberation" (133). Many of the other postcolonial feminist critics that appeared during the period of this novel's canonization discuss its use of Western identified novelistic conventions to write against neo-Orientalist representations, and examine the way it gives texture to localized epistemologies--small histories and small everyday struggles--which are seen as resisting the homogenizing flow of a patriarchal identified global capitalism.
Added to the views of the feminist and/or postcolonial readings of The God of Small Things are the analyses focused on the novel's use of the storytelling strategies associated with postmodernism. Here, rather than dealing with the novel's play with temporality or with its focus on dispossessed peoples posited as anti-colonial rather than more generally anti-capitalist, such analyses concluded that the novel participated in and extended the line of the traditionally Western identified postmodern approach: anachronistic narrative collage, fragmentation of self, multiplication of centers of truths of history, to name a few of its conspicuous characteristics. Thus, for Akshaya Kumar the "video-graphed montage of the splintered self", the narrative's "pastiche of the petty" (69), its "perversity and irresponsibility" (69), and its refusal of the "grandeur of sublimity" (69), locate The God of Small Things within the cosmopolitanism of postmodernism--not, as some Western criticism would have it, within a quaint Indian parochialism. For Yogesh Sinha and Sandhya Tripathi, the novel's blurring of fact and fiction, its play with language, and its sense of truth as a "hall of mirrors" (154), both convey a postmodernist sensibility and express the "experimental type of knowledge" (152) which typify the postcolonial narrative that "outwits" an "imposed Western colonial impression" (156).
That Small Thing Called Fiction
In the academic canonization of The God of Small Things few interpretive angles were left untapped. Quite expectedly in view of the origins and gender of its author, the themes it develops, and the particular actions and reactions of its characters, it was the postcolonial critical frame that glued strongest to the novel: not only how the narrative "writes back" against neo-Orientalist representations, for example, but also how it constitutes an allegory of nation, how is should be seen as an act of symbolic resistance to metropolitan nation-state and neo-imperial discourses, and so on and so forth. So while seemingly nothing was left out in the canonization process, little attention was paid to the novel's literary ground.
The identification of The God of Small Things as postcolonial and/or feminist hinges on the psychoanalytical, socio-historical and political concepts or themes chosen to read the novel as a whole, to interpret its characters, their behavior, attitudes and actions, and to attach a certain meaning to its descriptions and narrative comments. Such a focus is fundamentally a politically informed choice to see this and all other literary works of art as social-science specimens: produced of course by individuals addressing themselves to other individuals, but knowingly or unknowingly, consciously or unconsciously, in ways that are determined by nationality or postcolonial status, class, membership within a caste system, ethnicity, and gender. Both writers and readers (subaltern or otherwise) are identified in all cases as subjects--as being under the control of the social forces that shape and determine them. Now, Roy's novel not only bears other readings: it requires them if one wishes to be able to account for its accomplishments as a literary work of art and to perceive accurately the elements that complicate its relationship to certain approaches to criticism (postcolonial, feminist, or otherwise). The novel as a genre--and Roy's novel in particular--are generously roomy, capable of fitting in anything and everything from the external world and from the subjective world of feelings and thoughts, while using all the narrative techniques humankind has invented, including free indirect speech, stream of consciousness, dramatic narrative, lyrical narrative, prose poem, to name a few. As Roy states,
Rule One for a writer, as far as I'm concerned, is There Are No Rules. And Rule Two (since Rule One was made to be broken) is There Are No Excuses for Bad Art. Painters, writers, singers, actors, dancers, filmmakers, musicians are meant to fly, to push at the frontiers, to worry the edges of the human imagination, to conjure beauty from the most unexpected things, to find magic in places where others never thought to look. If you limit the trajectory of their flight, if you weigh their wings with society's existing notions of morality and responsibility, if you truss them up with preconceived values, you subvert their endeavor. (Power Politics, 5)
So Roy chose to tell her story in the form of the novel, not the autobiography, or the short story, or the epic poem, or the essay or the journalistic article. And the storytelling mode she used is the one we identify broadly as realism. Informing the realism of her novel are not just verifiable facts of history--the Naxalite revolt and Indira Ghandi's State of Emergency--as well as those culled from her life: the character, Rahel, who grows up in Ayemenem (near Roy's hometown, Kerala) shares many of Roy's experiences (she studies architecture) and attributes (she refuses to conform and marches to a different beat). As such, Meena Sodhi identifies the novel as a "personal book" (41) that chronicles Roy's "life reconstructed out of the memories of the past" (42). Now, to continue with the obvious, neither historical facts nor autobiographical traits appearing in the narrative transform the novel into an historical document or a "disguised" autobiography. Both the critic and the general reader are to engage with The God of Small Things first and foremost as a fictional narrative.
Roy's sources are varied, both individual and universal. She draws from the treasure trove of personal experience, history, and stories read and heard to invent her plots, settings, and characterizations. As the novel unfolds, we see the influence of Dickens (playfully precise imagery and metaphor), Faulkner (layered voices and multiply filtered events), Fitzgerald (tragic romance mode and theme of industrial waste), Thomas Hardy (rural realism and sense of character Fate), Jamaica Kincaid (anti-colonial coming of age story), Gabriel García Márquez (play with temporality), to name a few. We also witness the narrator's explicit references to classic Indian epics such as The Mahabaratha and Ramayana. And, as Julie Mullaney identifies at one point in her reader's guide to the novel, the narrative unfolds like the stylized dance-dramas known as "kathakali"--a storytelling tradition that originated in Kerala in the 17th century. The God of Small Things situates itself quite overtly within world literary traditions--often, the narrative directs its reader to signposts that indicate a wealth of affiliations, and one of the paratextual blurbs even seeks to pave the way for the reader to identify the novel's allegiance: "Faulknerian in its ambitious tackling of family and race and class, Dickensian in its sharp-eyed observation of society and character"--but none of this entitles critics to affirm pejoratively that Roy's novel has "gone international". To restate the obvious: Roy and all contemporary novelists of value resist the ghettoizing of their work, no matter where it is accomplished or where the author lives or is born. While texturing a South Asian subjectivity and using postcolonial aesthetic sensibilities, Roy is the opposite of a parochial writer and her sophisticated novel both engages and dis-engages with world literary canons.
One of the dominant plots in the novel is that of the romance. This rather age-old, universal and somewhat conventional plot line, however, becomes interesting and vital once again thanks to Roy's narrative skills and to the focus on two lovers not just from across those proverbial tracks that divide families and class, but from across caste lines. Also, as the novel spirals into its center and goes on to reveal the mystery of Velutha's murder, the romance plot is made to intersect with a mystery suspense plot; this puts an interesting and engaging new spin on the classic love story as it gravitates around the tragic consequences of loving within a caste-structured society. (Indeed, the final scene of caste-transgressive sensual love making not only suggests that the lovers will be metaphorically reunited after death, but aligns the story with that of a similar suggestion at the end of the Ramayana.)
Romance, suspense, mystery and intrigue are the dominant containers and motivators of The God of Small Things, a story that unfolds along two temporal planes. The most chronologically present narrative takes place over twenty-four hours: adult Rahel's return from the U.S. to Kerala (vaguely identified as the early 1990s) and her reunion with her twin brother, Estha. The most chronologically distant and past narrative takes place during the two weeks that lead up to the drowning of Sophie Mol, their cousin, and the murder of Velutha, in 1969, when Rahel and Estha are aged seven. Both chronological lines intercalate as the novel unfolds. This happens less as a series of flashbacks (which occur very occasionally), but as a seamless narrative mostly identified with (filtered through) the point of view of Rahel (who occasionally is also the narrator). As the narrator moves back and forth between these two temporal zones, the narrative gives more and more detail to scenes, events, and character interactions that make up the 1969 moment. In contrast, since the narrative present does not contain any plot shifting events, the reader senses that whatever happened in 1969 must have put a choke-hold of sorts on Rahel's and Estha's lives. Most of the novel deals with the past and hinges on it, and as the details accumulate, the reader slowly and strategically is made privy to the who and the why: not just of Velutha and his murder, but also of Sophie's death, of Estha's sexual abuse, and so on.
Along the way, the narrator breaths life into several major characters: The independent thinking Ammu, who defies law and has an affair with Velutha, the Harijan Untouchable, a skilled carpenter trained by a European builder to sculpt Bauhaus furniture and the son of a glass-eyed father; Ammu's brother, Chacko, a conflicted pickle factory owner, his ex-wife, Margaret, and his British raised, Anglo-Indian daughter, Sophie Mol; Mammachi, the grandmother whose skull exhibits permanent scars from her husband's beatings; Bennan John Ipe, the grandfather whose dashed dreams of becoming an important entomologist for the British government (pre-Independence) lead to his death; Baby Kochamma, who lusts for Father Mulligan and embraces Christianity; Kochu Maris, the superstitious house servant; Comrade Pillai, a local politician who in the name of Marxism actually brings more suffering than good to those disenfranchised like Velutha. As the narrator reveals the nuances of each character, the reader begins to see how ideology and social status (Anglophilia, heterosexism, caste, class, for example) conform different expressions of alienation, shame, self-loathing, violence, sexual abuse, and death.
For the most part, by the end of the first chapter the reader already has a good sketch of the plot (romance and mystery/suspense) as well as an overview of the themes and characters. What continues fueling his/her interest is the way the narrative fills in details in a non-linear and splintered way to answer questions such as those summed up by critic Michiko Kakutani: "What caused the boy named Estha to stop talking? What sent his twin sister, Rahel, into exile in the United States? Why did their beautiful mother, Ammu, end up dying alone in a grimy hotel room? What killed their English cousin, Sophie Mol? And why has a "whiff of scandal" involving sex and death come to surround their bourgeois family?" (15). Roy's narrator self-reflexively refers to this process, announcing how "Little events, ordinary things, smashed and reconstituted, become imbued with new meaning" (32). The tension between what the narrator knows and is willing to reveal builds on and spurs the reader to find out more. Reaching the end one can look back and delight in all the details that were pieced together in a non-linear fashion to offer the completed puzzle.
The architecture of the story is as essential to its narration as its style. There is a clear "will to style" in Roy's phrasing, in her patient syntax that continually and strategically slows down our hasty reading so that we may enjoy the imagery, sounds, smells, tastes, and tactile sensations evoked. (By "will to style" I refer to the literary ideal of the "perfectly sculpted prose page" famously enacted by Flaubert and found animating all seriously committed writers. It designates the rigorous attention paid by the author to both thematic and formal elements, to the exploration of language and its possibilities, to the search for a personal voice, and to the shaping of a personal worldview and of a distinctive way of expressing it. Notwithstanding its Nietzschean ring, this concept has nothing to do with Nietzsche's "will to power", a metaphysical notion that for him meant the world as such or, in the language of Heidegger, the being of Being.) Roy's will to style is also evident in the way she plays with the tone or the lexical level of words, switching the register not only for variety's sake but also to signal changes in the narration. And it is also patent in the way she creates metaphors and symbols, such as the recurring image of the moth or the identification of all significant moments as taking place at "ten to two", for they too confer to the novel a quite distinct "atmosphere". It is the strength of her will to style and her uncommon capacity to bring it to fruition that has allowed Roy to write such an accomplished novel as The God of Small Things.
Since the publication of The God of Small Things and its worldwide success, doors have opened to many other young South Asian women writers (among them, Kiran Desai, Manju Kapur, Ameena Meer, Shauna Sing Baldwin, to name a few.) Often, these new authors allude to Roy's novel, extend and complicate her narrative line and enrich the South Asian literary genealogy in new and exciting ways. When, in the context of an interview, Roy explains that her novel is not "specifically about 'our culture'--it's a book about human nature" (Abraham, 91), she is inviting the reader and the critic to take a more careful look into the contents, the underlying themes running through the multiple labyrinths in The God of Small Things. Because the novel as a literary genre has an unlimited capacity for worldmaking, it can show us and make us feel everything and anything existing in the universe, including our personal imaginings and fantasies. And thanks to the fact that it can do this with no concern for veracity, for scientific probability or plausibility, or even for everyday commonsense realism, the novel opens unlimited opportunities to realize "thought experiments" of every sort, to test emotions and thoughts and instincts of all kinds against wholly imagined worlds or quite real life circumstances. This is what makes the novel such a formidable laboratory of human sciences and psychology and such a delightful depository of suppositions, hypotheses, and knowledge concerning all aspects of what we are, what and how we feel, and what we do or capable of doing. Such are the properties, the function and the origin of the "realism" and the "antirealism" peculiar to fiction and above all to the fiction shaped by a strong will to style.
If Roy's The God of Small Things has been a powerful catalyst for many writers it is certainly because it has been efficient in the sense previously mentioned. Through the careful architecture of her novel, the expansion of contact zones between postcolonial/ethnic and the Western Anglo-American and European canon, the inventive use of narrative procedures (viewpoint, voice, stance, genre, and so on) and style (rhythm, atmosphere, tone, lexical register and innovation, and so on), Roy has furnished tools for others to use and improve, and she has incorporated in the literary laboratory areas of the human psyche for others to continue to explore. This is why her novel has rapidly become a "classic" and will probably remain so for a long time to come, not because it is deemed an allegory of nation, a writing back against empire, or a selling out to global capitalism.
As Stephen Alter remarks, fiction in general has had no "measurable social or political impact. Their readership, in most cases, is limited to the middle class and seldom reaches the poor and oppressed population, most of whom are illiterate" (24). Indeed, it is rather naively utopian to believe that novels--and their interpretation--are as such agents of social change. Moreover, this illusion can work very much against the literary writer in the first place. That's why Salman Rushdie warns of the author who "sets himself or herself up as the voice of nation" (60). Such reductively predetermined stand will ultimately lead, he concludes, "to the murder of thought" (60). And that's why Roy, too, considers that being identified as a "writer-activist" diminishes "the scope, the range, the sweep of what a writer is and can be" (Power Politics 23).
We leave the last word to Roy herself, who states in War Talk, "when writers, painters, musicians, film makers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the nation, it's time for all of us to sit up and worry" (47).
Abraham, Taisha. "An Interview with Arundhati Roy". Ariel. Vol. 29, no. 1, 1998: 89-92.
Agarwal, Ramlal. Review. The God of Small Things: World Literature Today. Vol. 72, no. 1, Winter, 1998: 208-209.
Ahmad,Aijaz. "Reading Arundhati Roy politically". Frontline. Vol. 14, no. 15, July 26-August 8, 1997: 103-108.
Alter, Stephen. "A Few Thoughts on Indian Fiction, 1947-1997". Alif: Journal of Comparative Poetics. Vol. 18, no. 1, 1998: 14-28.
Bhatt, Indira and Indira Nityanandam. Eds. Explorations: Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. Creative Books, New Delhi, 1999.
Boehmer, Elleke. "East is East and South is South". Women: A Cultural Review. Vol. 11/12, no. 1, 2000: 61-70.
Craig, Amanda. "But What about This Year's Barbados Novel?". New Statesman. June 27, 1997: 49.
Dhawan, R.K. Ed. Arundhati Roy: The Novelist Extraordinary. Published by Sangram Books Ltd. out of London but by arrangement with Prestige Books, New Delhi, 1998.
Dodiya, Jaydipsinh and Joya Chakravarty. Eds. The Critical Studies of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things. Atlantic Publishers, New Delhi, 1999.
Kakutani, Michiko. "Melodrama as Structure for Subtlety". The New York Times, June 3, 1997: C15.
Kumar, Akshaya. "Creative Dynamics: Prettifying the Small". In The Fictional World of Arundhati Roy. Ed. R.S. Pathak. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2001: 60-69.
Mullaney,Julie. The God of Small Things: A Reader's Guide. New York: Continuum International Publishing Inc., 2002.
Pathak, R.S. Ed.The Fictional World of Arundhati Roy. Creative Books, New Delhi, 2001.
Ray, M.K. "The God of Small Things: A Feminist Study. In The Fictional World of Arundhati Roy. Ed. R.S. Pathak. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2001: 95-107.
Roy, Arundhati. War Talk. Cambridge: South End Press, 2003.
— Power Politics. Cambridge: South End Press, 2001.
—.The God of Small Things. New York: Random House, 1997
Rushdie, Salman. "Notes on Writing and the Nation". In Step Across This Line: Collected Nonfiction 1992-2002. New York: Random House, 2002: 58-61.
Rutman, Paul. "The Indians are Coming. Electronic Telegraph. Saturday January 4, 1997: 585.
Singh, Anita. "Margin at the Center: Reading of The God of Small Things. In The Fictional World of Arundhati Roy. Ed. R.S. Pathak. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2001: 132-136.
Sinha, Yogesh and Sandhya Tripathi. "A Postmodernist Reading" In The Fictional World of Arundhati Roy. Ed. R.S. Pathak. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2001: 151-157.
Sodhi, Meena. "The God of Small Things: Memory and Art". In The Fictional World of Arundhati Roy. Ed. R.S. Pathak. New Delhi: Creative Books, 2001: 39-50.
Swami, Praveen. "'A tiger Woodsian debut': Arundhati Roy's novel goes international". Frontline. Vol. 14, no. 15, July 26-August 8, 1997: 100-102.
Truax, Alice. "A Silver Thimble in Her Fist". New York Times Book Review, May 25, 1997: 5.
Updike, John. "Mother Tongues: Subduing the Language of the Colonizer." The New Yorker. June 23-30, 1997: 156-59.