Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy

John Berger on perspective

Never again will a single story be told as though it’s the only one.
John Berger in G.: A Novel, (New York: Viking Press, 1972), p. 129. Cited by Arundhati Roy as the epigraph of her novel The God of Small Things: A Novel, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), p. vii.

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"Never again will a single story be told"

Arundhati Roy on “the Great Stories”

In the broad, covered corridor—the colonnaded kuthambalam abutting the heart of the temple where the Blue God lived with his flute, the drummer drummed and dancers danced, their colors turning slowly in the night. Rahel sat down cross-legged, resting her back against the roundness of a white pillar. A tall canister of coconut oil gleamed in the flickering light of the brass lamp. The oil replenished the light. The light lit the tin.

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. The 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.

That is their mystery and their magic.
Arundhati Roy in The God of Small Things: A Novel, (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998), p. 218.