Twenty years ago, Arundhati Roy wrote her Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, which went on to become one of the best loved books of our time. June 2017 will see Roy's return to fiction with her new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.
How to tell a shattered story?
By slowly becoming everybody.
By slowly becoming everything.
In a city graveyard a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet between two graves
As a private joke, never the same two on consecutive nights.
On a concrete sidewalk a baby appears quite suddenly, a little after midnight, in a crib of litter
No angels sang, no wise men brought gifts, but a million stars appeared in the east to herald her arrival.
In a snowy valley where tombstones grew through the ground like young children's teeth, a father writes to his five-year-old daughter about the number of people that attended her funeral
How shall I explain one hundred thousand to you? You who could only count to fifty-nine? Shall we try and think about it seasonally? In spring think of how many red poppies blossom in the meadows
In a second-floor apartment, watched over by a small owl, a lone woman feeds a baby gecko dead mosquitoes
"What I should have been", she thought, "is a gecko feeder".
And in the Jannat Guest House, two people who've known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around one another as though they have only just met.
Arundhati Roy's new novel gives us a cast of unforgettable characters, caught up in the tide of history, each in search of a place of safety. It is at once a love story and a provocation, an emotional embrace and a decisive remonstration. It is told with a whisper, with a shout, with tears and with a laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, human as well as animal, have been broken by the world we live in and then mended by love. And for this reason, they will never surrender.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness tells a shattered story, magnificently, without ever trying to make it whole. The scope of the book, its peerless prose and unique, formal inventiveness make this novel new, in the original meaning of novel.
About the Author:
Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997 and was a bestseller in more than thirty languages worldwide.
Since then Roy has published five books of influential non-fiction essays that include The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2001), Listening to Grasshoppers (2009), and Broken Republic (2011). She has raised profound questions about war and peace, the definitions of "violence" and "non-violence", about what we think of as "development", "democracy", "nationalism", "patriotism" and indeed the idea of civilization itself. Roy is a trained architect. She lives in New Delhi.