Book of the Week: The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
After twenty years since The God of Small Things won the Man Booker Prize in 1997, Arundhati Roy has returned to fiction with her new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. The God of Small Things met with critical acclaim for its skilful writing and thoughtful exploration of post-colonial themes such as the caste system in India and political and racial bigotry. Her new novel is more experimental than the first, testing the limits of what a novel can do and be. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once political and personal, tackling various issues such as war, violence, and gender through its mismatched narratives.
“But eventually, the Elixir of the Soul that had survived wars and the bloody birth of three new countries, was, like most things in the world, trumped by Coca-Cola.”
Roy’s work as a political activist shines through in her writing, as it is evidently a dominant part of her identity. She is fully aware of all the complexities of the events and politics she writes about, having experienced and studied similar things in her work outside of fiction. This brings her writing to life in a unique way that few authors are able to capture. Much like her first novel, it is hard to imagine that The Ministry of Utmost Happiness won’t bring in a fresh wave of acclaim and award nominations for its talented author.
'Magnificent - unlike anything I've read in years. An absolutely dazzling, original, and ultimately profound novel...A masterpiece. Very few writers can write with such intense and yet precise emotional intelligence. Arundhati Roy is properly special. We should be grateful to have her among us.' Mirza Waheed, author of The Book of Gold Leaves
'This novel is a freedom song. Every page has the stamp of Roy's originality. Such brutality, such beauty' Amitva Kumar, the author of Immigrant, Montana