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Invitation to World Literature



The twins' mother, who suffers from the abuse and control of her father and then her husband. Divorced, living back in her home town, she is drifting through life when she too briefly finds happiness with Velutha.
The small town on the southeast coast of India where the Kochamma family have lived for generations.
audio-iconBaby Kochamma
The twins' great-aunt is an old maid whose only passion in her youth was a hopeless love for an Irish monk. She lives her life in bitterness, hating Rahel and Estha, and helps cause the death of Velutha.
Ammu's older brother, who travels to England to study and marries an Englishwoman. They divorce and he returns to live in India, struggling to keep up the family pickle business, and flirting with Marxism.
audio-iconEstha Yako
A sensitive boy, Rahel's twin brother and closest ally in navigating the perilous adult world.
audio-iconMargaret Kochamma
An Englishwoman who met Ammu's brother Chacko when he was studying in England. They had a daughter but their marriage soon fell apart, and she remained in England with their daughter when Chacko returned home. As the novel opens, Margaret and Sophie Mol are making their first visit to Chacko and his town.
audio-iconRahel Kochamma
A quiet girl with an inner emptiness, Rahel is a keen observer of the world around her.
audio-iconSophie Mol
Daughter of Margaret and Chacko, she visits India with her mother and forms a bond with the twins. Her tragic death will change the twins' lives.
Handyman around the household. As an Untouchable, a member of the lowest caste in the Indian social system, Velutha is forbidden to touch Ammu, let alone have an affair with her.