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The Shape of the Beast
Arundhati Roy
The God of Small Things had a profound impact on me. I found it one of the most un-self-conscious pieces of writing I have ever read. It seemed like an unbroken rampant stream, almost torrent, of words flowing from the writer’s mind to paper. It remains to date one of my most referential books when it comes to writing style.
A lot of water has flown under the bridge since then, of course. Arundhati Roy has not written another piece of fiction. Instead she has been in the news for her political views expressed in a series of essays and speeches. It has drawn huge criticism as well as approbation, more so because she brings her own special brand of unbridled passion to her political writing. Passion is scary to a lot of people, especially to academics and political columnists who pride themselves on objectivity and detachment (witness Ramachandra Guha’s ridiculous indictment of her in his article in The Hindu).
Arundhati Roy is not detached. She is not …
JudgedEvery moment of every waking hour
Of every single day
Every spoken word, and every unspoken one
A smile or a glance or the lack of either
What you read and what you listen to
How your skin looks and your hair
What you weigh and what you wear
All assessed, measured, evaluated,
Judged!