The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

A Novel

Book - 2017
Average Rating:
6
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"A richly moving new novel--the first since the author's Booker Prize-winning, internationally celebrated debut, The God of Small Things, went on to become a beloved best seller and enduring classic. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety--in search of meaning, and of love. In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they have just met. A braided narrative of astonishing force and originality, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once a love story and a provocation--a novel as inventive as it is emotionally engaging. It is told with a whisper, in a shout, through joyous tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, have been broken by the world we live in--and then mended by love. For this reason, they will never surrender. How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything. Humane and sensuous, beautifully told, this extraordinary novel demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts"-- Provided by publisher.
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. 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 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.
"An epic novel of love and history and the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York :, Alfred A. Knopf,, 2017
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781524733155
1524733156
Characteristics: 449 pages ; 22 cm

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infinityg37
Aug 28, 2017

I'm with Brangwinn on her comments. Was so excited to read a book by the Author of the God of Small Things, but found this one long and confusing.

Cynthia_N Aug 16, 2017

I struggled with this one. It was at times a beautiful story with characters I liked but it wasn't enough for me to really enjoy reading it. Three stars because of the character Anjum.

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GummiGirl
Aug 08, 2017

Highly complex, and polemical at times, but frequently poetic and worth persisting through the confusing parts. It gave me a real feel for a rapidly developing country and Kashmir in particular.

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brangwinn
Aug 06, 2017

I have loved the past novels of Roy, but this book failed to hold my attention as _The God of Small Things_ did. I’m not sure disjointed is the right word for the way it was written, but I could never gain empathy for the main characters, although I certainly sympathized with what life must be like for homosexuals in India. I guess part of my problem in reading it was that I kept looking for a plot and there wasn’t one.

c
Candaceb108
Jul 03, 2017

Faced with the kaleidoscope of chaos that was India in the 80's and still now, what other book could Roy write. So much can be forgiven. How else would an author present such incredibly idiocy of war and cruelty. I don't know. The books starts as though on acid you are perceiving a lotus. The middle is as if the lotus has become a petaled IUD that explodes in your heart slow motion. It ends with a bubble gum happy ending laced with cyanide. Tough sledding.

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spiderfelt_0
Jul 01, 2017

Can you imagine a book so lush it propels you into a world you've never visited? The scents, sounds, colors and feelings of Delhi, Kashmir and Kerala were almost tangible. Arundhati Roy possesses the ability to build people who tower over a story, sharp and mesmerizing. This book was worth the wait, clearly constructed with care, thought and precision; it left a bittersweet taste in my mouth.

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