The Ministry of Utmost Happiness (Hardcover)
Roy, who won a Booker Award 20 years ago, has written a second novel that is probably the best book I have read this year. There is powerful writing, searing emotion, deeply empathetic social commentary, and a story that reflects the complexity of India's history. The action stretches from Delhi's transgender (Hijra) community to the beautiful mountains and lakes of Kashmir where local Muslims and the Indian government have fought each other for decades. Four university friends lose contact and find each other again in the highly charged atmosphere of Indian politics and social upheaval. Roy explores unflinchingly the effects of poverty, the highly structured social system, and years of subjugation of some groups by others, and manages to find the possibility of hope and happiness. An ardent social justice advocate, she doesn't preach but rather lets her story reveal the strengths and weaknesses of contemporary Indian society, a story that made me think of a basket full of snakes, writhing with purpose and energy. Highly recommended.— Alice
New York Times Best Seller
Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
Named a Best Book of 2017 by Amazon, Kirkus, The Washington Post, Newsday, and the Hudson Group A dazzling, richly moving new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The God of Small Things
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent--from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war. It is an aching love story and a decisive remonstration, a story told in a whisper, in a shout, through unsentimental tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Each of its characters is indelibly, tenderly rendered. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, patched together by acts of love--and by hope. The tale begins with Anjum--who used to be Aftab--unrolling a threadbare Persian carpet in a city graveyard she calls home. We encounter the odd, unforgettable Tilo and the men who loved her--including Musa, sweetheart and ex-sweetheart, lover and ex-lover; their fates are as entwined as their arms used to be and always will be. We meet Tilo's landlord, a former suitor, now an intelligence officer posted to Kabul. And then we meet the two Miss Jebeens: the first a child born in Srinagar and buried in its overcrowded Martyrs' Graveyard; the second found at midnight, abandoned on a concrete sidewalk in the heart of New Delhi. As this ravishing, deeply humane novel braids these lives together, it reinvents what a novel can do and can be. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts.
About the Author
ARUNDHATI ROY is the author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things. Her nonfiction writings include The Algebra of Infinite Justice, Listening to Grasshoppers, Broken Republic, and Capitalism: A Ghost Story, and most recently, Things That Can and Cannot Be Said, coauthored with John Cusack.