“It didn’t matter that the story had begun, because kathakali discovered long ago that the secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.”
I’ve made some poor choices for Bookstravaganza this year. Too many books have demanded to be read again or read at a slower pace, in small sips like a complicated wine. The God of Small Things is one of those books. Although the reader is made aware of how most of the plot of the novel will play out in the first chapter, we continue to read, drawn by the book’s themes and characters. I’ve barely given myself enough time to ponder how this central idea: “That it really began in the days when the Love Laws were made. The laws that lay down who should be loved, and how. And how much.” affects all of the characters, and I must move on to another title (my twenty-book goal a flashing red light in the back of my mind–“Only 5 more, 5 more, Matthew.”)
Fortunately, books–unlike wine–do not dry up with the last drop. This one will sit on the shelf, age properly in my memory, and then I can return to it with a patient palette.