20 years after winning the Booker Prize for her debut novel The God of Small Things, author Arundhati Roy has released The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, described as ‘an aching love story’. The novel takes takes us on a journey of many years – the story spooling outwards from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi into the burgeoning new metropolis and beyond, to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests of Central India, where war is peace and peace is war, and where, from time to time, ‘normalcy’ is declared.
Anjum, who used to be Aftab, unrolls a threadbare carpet in a city graveyard that she calls home. A baby appears quite suddenly on a pavement, a little after midnight, in a crib of litter. The enigmatic S. Tilottama is as much of a presence as she is an absence in the lives of the three men who loved her.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once an aching love story and a decisive remonstration. It is told in a whisper, in a shout, through tears and sometimes with a laugh. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, mended by love-and by hope. For this reason, they are as steely as they are fragile, and they never surrender. This ravishing, magnificent book reinvents what a novel can do and can be. And it demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy’s storytelling gifts.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
by Arundhati Roy
Publisher: Hamish Hamilton (6 June 2017)
Hardcover: 464 pages
ISBN-10: 0241303974 (Hardcover)
ASIN: B01N32B2M2 (Kindle Ed)
ISBN-10: 0525590099 (Paperback)
Guide Price: Kindle Ed – £9.99, Hardcover Ed. – £9.49, Paperback – £20.43
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About the author
Arundhati Roy is the author a number of books, including The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997 and has been translated into more than forty languages. She was born in 1959 in Shillong, India, and studied architecture in Delhi, where she now lives. She has also written several non-fiction books, including Listening to Grasshoppers, Walking with the Comrades, Capitalism: A Ghost Story, Broken Republic, and most recently Things That Can and Cannot Be Said, co-authored with John Cusack. Roy is the recipient of the 2002 Lannan Foundation Cultural Freedom Prize, the 2011 Norman Mailer Prize for Distinguished Writing, and the 2015 Ambedkar Sudar award.