Kerala is a state at the southwestern tip of India.
The state's tourism board coined its official slogan "God's Own Country." Kerala prides itself on its reputation as India's "cleanest state," as well on a literacy rate of over 90%.
Kerala's official language is Malayalam. Hindus, Christians and Muslims are the primary religious groups in Kerala, but it's known to be a melting pot of several other smaller religions. The state's religious diversity is one theme explored in Roy's novel.
Central to the culture of Kerala is the tradition of Malayalam literature, which is at least 1,000 years old. Some of the most notable works of Malayalam literature are the Ramacharitam, the first of many poetry-based Malayalam versions of the Ramayana, as well as the Attakkatha.
The God of Small Things is set in the Indian village of Aymanam, where Arundhathi Roy grew up.
Much of the area is made up of rice paddies, and the river Meenachil runs through it.
Kochi is the location of Kerala's main airport, and is the setting for the twins' first introduction to Sophie Mol and her mother.