Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Beauty in Words

I have already written about my unashamed love for books. I almost constantly have a book or two on the go, but this past month I was finding myself unable to get further than the first paragraph of anything. But right now I am reading The God of Small Things, by Arundhati Roy and I am engrossed.

Most of the books I love, I love for characterisation that makes the characters alive, and one of the most important things for me is that it inspires emotion; laughter, sadness, whatever. But with this book I'm just enraptured by Arundhati Roy's writing, which is as stunning as any piece of art. What is the book about? The blurb of the book says it 'explores the tragic fate of a family' and goes on to use a quote from the book: 'tampered with the laws that lay down who should be loved and how'. Doesn't this line sound like something from a poem?

Adding to the poetic feel are similes, a technique which I grew to detest through over-use in primary school poems but which add so much to the book: 'Baby Kochamma...closed her face like a cupboard'. There are other devices, such as certain phrases written in capital letters, 'She used her windows for specific purposes. For a Breath of Fresh Air' and beautifully, wonderful little rhymes within sentences.

'She had a special child-sized coffin.
Brass handle shined'

'Not old.
Not young.
But a viable di-able age'

Normally, when I read a book containing words like 'posterity' 'incipient' and 'pernicious' (i.e. words I need to look up!) I have a tendancy to dismiss it as pretentious or verbose, but with 'The God of Small Things' I don't.

I am just in awe of Roy's mastery of the English language, and a little sad because I'm already almost halfway and when I finish this book, she hasn't written another one yet.

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