Name of Protagonist: Esthappen (Estha) and Rahel.
It is a story of two twins as they live in an environment corrupted by the adult society. Set during the time when Communism was being noticed as a effective form of government and the ancient land was disrupted by the foreign ideas from European colonization.
Setting: Set in India, in a small town in Kerala during the late 1960's. The story moves backwards from present-day India to the drowning of the twins half English cousin, Sophie Mol, that took place in 1969. The twins live in misery in the Ayemenem house with their grandmother, uncle, and grand-aunt Baby. The family owns a pickle factory which soon would be in conflict with the Communist.
Rahel (girl) sister of esthappen and daughter of Ammu.
Esthappen Yako (Estha): Fraternal twin of Rahel, son of Ammu.
Ammu: born in 1942. Married to "Baba" and divorced. The mother of the fraternal twins.
Baby Kochamma (born Navomi Ipe): Rahel and Estha's grandfather's sister--their grand-aunt.
Sophie Mol is the cousin of Rahel and Esthappen, and is the daughter of their uncle Chacko and Margaret Kochamma.
Margaret Kochamma: is the daughter of English parents, former wife of Chacko, then of Joe, mother of Sophie Mol.
Mammachi (Shoshamma Ipe): blind grandmother of the twins and Sophie Mol, founder of the family pickle factory. She wore dark glasses when she went out of the house. She looked small and ill.
Pappachi (Benaan John Ipe): late abusive husband of Mammachi.
Chacko: son of Mammachi, divorced first husband of Margaret.
Joe: second husband of Margaret, died 1969.
Kochu Maria: "Little Maria": the tiny cook of the household.
Larry McCaslin: Rahel's American husband.
Velutha Paapen: Paravan untouchable around whom much of the action revolves.
Vellya Paapen: his father.
D. Major Struggle/Conflict: The story overlaps with a love affair between Ammu and the family's carpenter, Velutha, a member of the Untouchable caste.