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Many of us may know little about the decades long Kashmiri conflict. Roy underscores how heartbreaking and intractable it is while having her extraordinary way with characters that make them glimmer (whether with heartless intentions or good). These are vivid human beings trying to make a place for themselves where most of who they are, as well as who and what they love, is met with obstacles, and sometimes death, at every turn. It is awesome the skill and depth Roy summons to have crafted such a complex story with strong political overtones and tenderness underneath it all. In the end, she's written a novel one cannot stop reading.
— Sheryl Cotleur
I wanted to give you something you can use about this brilliant Arundhati Roy novel. Wow. It is an intense novel but the kind that is so well done that I read it intensely. I wonder if I even pull books more closely to my face when I am reading this way, well I digress but there is a kind of obliviousness to one’s surroundings that takes over when one ‘reads intensely’.
There were things I knew little about such as the Kashmiri civil war (is it thought of as a civil war?) and what I learned from this novel is how utterly heartbreaking, senseless (to me anyway) and intractable that conflict really is, yet and at the same time Roy has a way with characters that make them glimmer (whether with heartless intentions or good) as if her prose outlines them in color. There are quite a few characters in this book and every one of them leaves a lasting impression on the reader. They are vivid human beings trying to make a place for themselves where most of who they are and who & what they love is met with obstacles, sometimes death, at every turn. I am in awe at the skill and depth Roy summons to have crafted such a complex story with strong political overtones and tenderness underneath it all.
I even after all these years, find it difficult to find adequate words to say I loved this book and it broke my heart. I think it is very, very good.
New York Times Best Seller A dazzling, richly moving new novel by the internationally celebrated author of The God of Small Things The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on 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. 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 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.
About the Author
ARUNDHATI ROY is the author of the Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things. Her nonfiction writings include The Algebra of Infinite Justice, Listening to Grasshoppers, Broken Republic, and Capitalism: A Ghost Story, and most recently, Things That Can and Cannot Be Said, coauthored with John Cusack.