Is the God of Small Things a tale of suffering twins Rahel and Estha? 

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susan3smith eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes, very much so.  Set in Kerala, India, the novel shows the devastation that occurs within a family as a result of the love affair between the twins' mother (Ammu) and an Untouchable (Velutha).  When this love affair is made public, Estha is deceived into betraying Velutha, a man he loved as a father.  This betrayal were the last words the badly beaten Velutha heard before he died.  As a result of these developments, Ammu is exiled, Estha is returned to his father and thereby separated from his two-egg twin Rahel, Rahel is sent to boarding school where she becomes rebellious.  Other family members suffer major disppointments and betrayals as well, but the suffering of the twins is probably the most poignant.  The story is told primarily from the adult Rahel's viewpoint through flashbacks as she returns to her hometown to see her brother Estha who has not talked since he left Kerala many years ago.

Other heartbreaking incidents occur--the death of Sophie Mol and  the molestation of Estha by the man with the piano teeth.  Roy unsparingly shows us the "cost of living," or the terrible price that is paid when people break "the love laws."  We also learn much about the vulnerable world of children.