The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
2017 Man Booker Prize Longlist
2018 Women's Prize for Fiction Longlist
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a dazzling new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The God of Small Things. It takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent--from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Dehli 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 richly complex 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.
She is back with a heavyweight state-of-the-nation story that has been ten years in the making * Daily Mail * Roy's second novel proves as remarkable as her first * Financial Times * The Ministry of Utmost Happiness confirms Roy's status as a writer of delicate human dramas that also touch on some of the largest questions of the day. It is the novel as intimate epic. Expect to see it on every prize shortlist this year * The Times * Heartfelt, poetic, intimate, laced with ironic humour...The intensity of Roy's writing - the sheer amount she cares about these people - compels you to concentrate...This is the novel one hoped Arundhati Roy would write about India * Daily Telegraph * Teems with human drama, contains a vivid cast of characters and offers an evocative, searing portrait of modern India * Tatler * A beautiful and grotesque portrait of modern India and the world beyond. Take your time over it, just as the author did * Good Housekeeping * Fantastic. The novel is unflinchingly critical of power, and yet she empowers her underdog characters to persevere, leaving readers with a few droplets of much-needed hope. It's heartening when writers live up to the hyperbole that surrounds them * Hirsh Sawhney * A kaleidoscopic story about the struggle for Kashmir's independence * Washington Post * A sprawling, kaleidoscopic fable about love and resistance in modern India * The Guardian * The follow-up we've been longing for - a poetic, densely populated contemporary novel in the tradition of Dickens and Tolstoy. From its beginning, one is swept up in the story... With her exquisite and dynamic storytelling, Roy balances scenes of suffering and corruption with humour and transcendence * Vogue * Compelling, musical, cinematic... [A] genuine poignancy and depth of emotion. Her gift is for the personal: for poetic description [and an] ability to map the complicated arithmetic of love and belonging . . . The Ministry of Utmost Happiness manages to extract hope from tragedies * The New York Times * A passionate political masterpiece * Times Literary Supplement *
Arundhati Roy is the author of The God of Small Things, which won the Booker Prize in 1997 and has been translated into more than forty languages, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2017. Roy has also published several works of non-fiction, including The Algebra of Infinite Justice, Listening to Grasshoppers and Broken Republic. She lives in Delhi.