The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
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.

PRAISE FOR

“Truly, this is a remarkable creation, a story both intimate and international, swelling with comedy and outrage, a tale that cradles the world’s most fragile people even while it assaults the Subcontinent’s most brutal villains.” —Ron Charles, Washington Post
 
“The first novel in 20 years from Roy, and worth the wait: a humane, engaged near fairy tale that soon turns dark—full of characters and their meetings, accidental and orchestrated alike to find, yes, that utmost happiness of which the title speaks.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“Ambitious, original, and haunting . . . a novel [that] fuses tenderness and brutality, mythic resonance and the stuff of headlines . . .essential to Roy’s vision of a bewilderingly beautiful, contradictory, and broken world.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
 
“A masterpiece…Roy joins Dickens, Naipaul, García Márquez, and Rushdie in her abiding compassion, storytelling magic, and piquant wit…. A tale of suffering, sacrifice and transcendence—an entrancing, imaginative, and wrenching epic.” –Booklist

"With its insights into human nature, its memorable characters and its luscious prose, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is well worth the 20-year wait.”  - Time
 
“To say this book is ‘highly anticipated’ is a bit of an understatement. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness will be a welcome gift for those who’ve missed Roy’s dazzling fiction.” —Cosmopolitan’s 11 Books You Won’t Be Able to Put Down This Summer
 
“It’s finally here! Fans of The God of Small Things have been waiting for Roy’s next novel, and it doesn’t disappoint. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is big, both in physical heft and in ideas. It features an unforgettable cast of characters from across India whose stories are told with generosity and compassion.” —Vulture Summer Books Preview

“This intricately layered and passionate novel, studded with jokes and with horrors, has room for satire and romance, for rage and politics and for steely understatement…[I]t is exuberant, page-turning, and sometimes even frolicsome—though a frolic that can flip abruptly into something like despair...Like Dickens, Roy can plunge us into intimacy with a character within a few pages; she can also sustain the mystery of character across the entire span of the plot…This is a work of extraordinary intricacy and grace, as well as being fuelled by savage indignation. It is also a work that feels dangerous to read, even to those far from scenes described. There is no space left for easy objectivity in this challenging novel. It gives it its cutting edge.” —Prospect

“A stunningly beautiful novel that wills another world to emerge from our collective darkness. Weaving the experiences and aspirations of India’s most marginalized peoples into perfect prose, Roy unveils complex characters possessed by a desire to invent new worlds even in dark times. In an era when the West is sensing the prescience of authoritarian rule, Roy’s novel is instructive: it illuminates the intelligent, critical, often rebellious perspectives of peoples belonging to a vast Indian underclass.” – Maclean’s 


Praise for The God of Small Things:

  "A work of highly conscious art--A Tiger Woodsian début--the author hits the long, socio-cosmic ball but is also exquisite in her short game. Like a devotionally built temple, The God of Small Things builds a massive interlocking structure of fine, intensely felt details."-John Updike, The New Yorker

 "A work that is complex in structure, sophisticated in its handling of time, and bold in its themes. But perhaps what is most remarkable is Roy's deft use of language."-Maclean's

  "A compelling tale of forbidden love and its catastrophic consequences, wonderfully vivid--Arundhati Roy's novel has a magic and mystery all its own."-Toronto Star

  "Roy weaves her bold and startling narrative in sequences of luminously rendered scenes--remarkable."-The Globe and Mail