Read: 29 December, 2012
Esthappen has been re-Returned to the house in Ayemenem, and his two-egg twin Rahel is there to meet him. Years have passed since the Terror and the tragedy of Sophie Mol’s death, but the wounds are still fresh.
The narrative bounces all over the place. The “now” takes place when Esthappen and Rahel are adults, but they are children through much of the book, and the narrative flows around them and other characters, giving each a biography in turn, so that the timeline encompassed is actually about a century long. Despite this, it was surprisingly easy to follow once I had a grasp of the general outline.
The writing style is heavily focused on the senses, so that very few things or people are mentioned without lengthy sense-based comparisons. It’s all rather poetic, and I found it quite interesting to follow – particularly when these comparisons are used to link people and events.
The centre of the story – Sophie Mol’s death – is revealed from the beginning, but the details are danced around through the whole novel. I found it rather frustrating, since the event is brought up again and again throughout, but what the event really was or what it meant is withheld until the very end. On the other hand, the climax revelation was far more effective once I’d come to know the whole cast of characters.
I found the writing style to be quite beautiful, though I often found myself carried away by the cadence of it and forgetting to absorb the meaning – though fatigue may also have had something to do with this.
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