The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Paperback - 2018
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National Bestseller

Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

One of the Best Books of the Year: The Washington Post * The Boston Globe * Minneapolis Star Tribune * NPR * Newsday * The Guardian * Financial Times * The Christian Science Monitor

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on an intimate journey 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. Braiding together the lives of a diverse cast of characters who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued, patched together by acts of love--and by hope, here Arundhati Roy reinvents what a novel can do and can be.
Publisher: New York : Vintage Books, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, [2018]
Edition: First Vintage Books edition, 2018.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780525434818
052543481X
Characteristics: 449 pages ; 22 cm

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Adult Book Discussion: Ministry of Utmost Happines

For April we will be discussing Arundhati Roy's The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Roy braids together the lives of a diverse cast of characters who have been broken by the world they live in and then rescued and patched together by acts of love and by hope. Copies of books for the discussion are available at the branch's circulation desk.  (more)


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n
Nisha_Pan
Jan 11, 2019

Prose. People. The epic scope of continuing political unrest in Kashmir, told by individuals who are in the middle of it.

w
writermala
Nov 26, 2018

Arundhati Roy is a great writer. It is, therefore, no surprise that her first book won a Booker Prize. This book is very well written too. At first I felt a little uncomfortable with the charachters but soon they grew on me. Aftab/Anjum is a transgender child born into an orthodox muslim family. She is a woman trapped into a man's body and finds her way to a group of people like her. THis makes her happy and Roy follows her life along the course of the book. The book takes us from the streets of Old Delhi to Kashmir and I was gripped by the violence there. Roy follows the life of three men who are friends and in love with the same woman. The characers are refreshing and history opens up through their lives. A wonderful primer into the Indian social and historical scene. Well worth a read.

d
davidp1
Jul 08, 2018

There's a brilliant lecture and discussion by the author here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-tFom1WihPY

Arundhati Roy is my hero. Her book was tough to follow in places, but it is a wonderful book.

Although the language is poetic I found the story inaccessible. As a reader unfamiliar with subtle aspects of Indian culture and with the vernacular of that country, the book could not hold my attention past 200 pages. I skipped around looking for an anchor in the story line but in the end I put it down. There are too many other good novels on life in India to bother ploughing through this poorly worked story.

h
hamerkop
Mar 21, 2018

This book is a mandatory read for the Canadian Broadcasting Company and its reporters, who conveniently refuse to address Gujarat ka Lalle's extremism and Hindu nationalist blood shedding in Rajasthan and Kashmir, in their coverage of India - Canada relations.

u
uncommonreader
Mar 14, 2018

Innovative, interesting, complex and harrowing, this novel is an indictment of the "new India" and the oppression in Kashmir and elsewhere under a nationalist Hindu government.

SCL_Justin Jan 25, 2018

The confusion I felt about whether this book is a novel or a collection of linked short stories seems appropriate to a story about hijras and transgender people, and the politics of Kashmir and policing in modern India. These aren't topics that are easily separated into nice boxes, and this book does an excellent job of immersing the reader in that ambiguity. Of course that comes at the cost of a nice simple storyline, but I think it's worth it for the scenes and relationships we get to experience.

2
2308873Library
Jan 19, 2018

#10

s
Samatuna109
Jan 04, 2018

Can't see what all the fuss is about. Have preferred many other Indian authors.

w
wyenotgo
Oct 25, 2017

With regret, after 200 pages I finally had to give up and acknowledge that I still don't know what this book is all about. I found much of it unintelligible, partly because it's filled with words whose meaning remains a mystery to me; in many cases I could not determine whether words referred to persons, events, places, concepts or whatever. Add to that a plot that appears to be going nowhere, a vast number of characters whose relationship to one another or their importance to the story are not apparent. And then add the preponderance of exasperatingly stupid religious animosity and what have we got left? All I can perceive is an exposition of the vast, irreconcilable disconnect between the government and the governed, where those in power regard most of the populace with contempt and much of the populace view the government and its minions as agents of murder, corruption and oppression. Referring to India as "the world's largest democracy" is obviously a sad joke. But does that make for a good novel?
Ms. Roy is a very angry woman. Anger, well channeled and skillfully wielded can be compelling. But here, there are just too many other problems with the writing that get in the way.
Almost two stars in recognition of some gritty humor and one very promising protagonist. The rest I could have done without.

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