“…it’s not sophisticated, what happens here. There’s too much blood for good literature.”
It seems a pity to compare Ministry of Utmost Happiness to anything; its been a 20 year wait for Arundhati Roy’s next novel and for those of us who enjoyed the Booker Prize winning The God of Small Things, its a huge event. So I won’t compare it. But I will say it made me feel certain things, like other books – like the tension of the narrative in Louis de Berniere’s Birds Without Wings, where a huge cast of characters moved in a setting of peril and violence. Familiar too, the slapstick absurdity of Catch 22 with its comedy of war, and the beauty and horror and violence of stirring human enterprise in grim times with Cormac McCarthy’s malevolent ciphers. It felt similar to The God of Small Things too, in that it had characters I liked and understood and characters who were cold, traumatized, unknowable devices. Its a novel in which the author aimed ‘to write a book in which the story was like the streets of a great city…I wanted even the smallest character to have a story.’
I was so TAKEN by this book. You can surrender to the prose as though its a place with and textures and moods and a rich appalling history, and observe it all flow around you. Unmissable.