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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.
By slowly becoming everything.
Humane and sensuous, beautifully told, this extraordinary novel demonstrates the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Amazon Customer on 06-18-17
Author narration does not work for me
What did you like best about The Ministry of Utmost Happiness? What did you like least?
The cadence of the writing.
How could the performance have been better?
Arundhati Roy is a great writer, and I loved The God of Small Things, but I am going to switch to my Kindle to read this book. Her voice is soothing and it is great to hear a book by its creator, but her voice never changes tone and it is monotonous to listen to for long periods (and this is a long book!). I find myself drifting and missing key points of the story. Plus, it is difficult to keep the long Indian names straight in my head when they are spoken vs. written. I feel that a professional narrator might have helped with this issue.
27 of 29 people found this review helpful
By Yennta on 09-11-17
Wonderful writer, wonderful reader
People who have trouble understanding accents (like my partially deaf boyfriend) would have an awful time with this book. Roy's accent sounds lovely to me, like music. But best to listen to the sample to make up your mind. This is such marvelous writing, touching, witty, so beautiful and crazy, and the bonus is, I finally have a sense of what's been going on politically in India for all these years. I love the main character. A few of the others seem made to carry too much historical baggage to be real people. But oh, the writing the writing. I LOVED THIS BOOK.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful