The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy


Arundhati Roy’s second novel parades a convoluted snaking procession of some of Indian society’s ill- fitting mavericks whom she loves and speaks for. She casts wide across India’s map from the Arabian Sea to the Himalayas. Led by Anjum who is transgender (in India, a hijra), and the enigmatic Tilo, loved by rebel and security officer alike, the population of this book floods in and out of Delhi and Kashmir with its endless struggle for “normalcy”. Anjum eventually colonises a Delhi cemetery with a sprawling “Guest House” of her own devising which turns any ideas of what is normal upside down. We know that normalcy does not exist (don’t we?) and Arundhati Roy’s poetic net thrown over India comes up with thousands of wriggling gems as ample proof.

(Philip Maltman)

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