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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: ‘The…
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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: ‘The Literary Read of the Summer’ -… (utgåvan 2017)

av Arundhati Roy (Författare)

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
1,474439,462 (3.52)99
"A richly moving new novel--the first since the author's Booker Prize-winning, internationally celebrated debut, The God of Small Things, went on to become a beloved best seller and enduring classic. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety--in search of meaning, and of love. In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they have just met. A braided narrative of astonishing force and originality, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once a love story and a provocation--a novel as inventive as it is emotionally engaging. It is told with a whisper, in a shout, through joyous tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, have been broken by the world we live in--and then mended by love. For this reason, they will never surrender. How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything. Humane and sensuous, beautifully told, this extraordinary novel demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts"-- "An epic novel of love and history and the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy"--… (mer)
Medlem:lisatin
Titel:The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: ‘The Literary Read of the Summer’ - Time
Författare:Arundhati Roy (Författare)
Info:Hamish Hamilton (2017), 464 pages
Samlingar:Ditt bibliotek
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Taggar:Ingen/inga

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness av Arundhati Roy

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engelska (39)  spanska (1)  tyska (1)  italienska (1)  nederländska (1)  Alla språk (43)
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It’s always difficult to comment on Roy’s works. The God of Small Things was a fantastic read, telling a story of interesting characters who have had dreadful things done to them. That formula can only work once though, with later works losing the magic and charm, as evidenced by Khaled Hosseini’s books. The same thing happens here in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, but truth be told, there’s still some magic in there to hold your interest.

Roy’s political affiliations and biases shine—nay burn—through the story. She weaves a narrative that covers almost all of the sociopolitical spectrum in the Indian subcontinent. First off, we have the struggle of the hijras told through Aftab/Anjum. That’s intertwined with the struggles of Old Delhi (and nationwide too) Muslims, especially focusing on the aftermath of the Gujarat riots. Then of course, we have the trinity of lovers – Naga, Musa, Biplob – and their love interest: Tilo. Through them we get both sides of the Kashmir conflict, though we veer straight into the pro-Kashmir territory as the narrative winds down. In between all this, minor characters come and go with their own agendas highlighting minor issues.

Roy handles Anjum’s narrative quite brilliantly, and I was wholly invested in her character by the end. Tilo and her hopelessly broken lovers, not so much. Their conflict felt forced but never uninteresting though. However, moving from the struggles of hijras to something as sensitive and significant as the Kashmir issue felt a bit unbalanced. The story suffers as a result, never really finding its rhythm in the sea of characters that are paraded about near the end.

Don’t get me wrong though. I loved the sub-stories, especially the Kashmir ones. I felt deeply saddened by how the conflict had affected the people of the region. As a matter of fact, Gulkak’s story resonated the most with me. However, all that felt overshadowed—heh, almost upstaged even—by Anjum’s arc. She, and her surrounding characters, paints a far more interesting picture of India.

Thing is, it’s a great book that’s dragged down in some chapters by unnecessary details that often derail your interest in the main arc. Roy’s writing has a magnetic quality about it, catching you in its dragnet of sociopolitical issues that need to be discussed. If that’s up your alley, then definitely give it a read. If you’re looking for something concise, look elsewhere. ( )
  bdgamer | Sep 10, 2021 |
Arundhati Roy has said she's a storyteller, and that she rarely edits her works. She's accurate in her self assessment--she's a wonderful storyteller, and her work is visibly unedited. There's a lot of wonderful material in here, especially the beginning sections. The problems with the book are twofold: the sections are not knitted together evenly. Her initial idea of how to divide the sections, by switching to Tilo's story once she appears with the baby, makes sense in theory but in practice, it's clunky. I enjoyed most of the politics in the novel--as much of it is cynical asides as dogmatic fury--but they overwhelm the section with Tilo and Musa. This is in part because Tilo's characterization is flawed: she's a kind of irresistible enigma whom we don't get to know very well internally. Her biography is too similar to that of Roy herself and of Rahel from The God of Small Things. The ending, also, is weak. It ties things up, but almost too neatly.

It should probably be about 3.5, for those of you who like these things quantified. ( )
  arosoff | Jul 11, 2021 |
Laborious. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is an intentional experimentation of the Booker Prize winning, much acclaimed author Arundhati Roy. She spent around ten years writing this novel which doesn't seem to have a central plot, character or objective to be achieved. While this may be freedom of expression and thought for the author, the reader might be caught in a whirlwind of confusing emotions to the point of frustration.

For me, primarily a non- fiction reader, trudging through more than four hundred and fifty pages of painful details of my own country, capital and politics is not exciting. While there is no debate on the beauty of language -from the structural to the poetic , what messes my head is the length of details about every character that the author has meticulously provided. Another case of intentional interrogation. The author is having a gala time playing detective until she knows everything of everyone that ever gets mentioned in the novel.

It seems everyone in this world has a sad story- a cloud of grey hovers above you like a vulture at most times. And then comes the witty humour in bursts and bubbles clearing up the mind for just that transient moment and you burst out laughing. Her characters do the same. They are deeply fractured, even to the point of no repair. But they manage to carry on, many times living vicariously through others lest the moment is lost forever.

The first half of the book created "Anjum" in all her glory. The second part paints a gruesome picture of heart wrenching issues from the real world. Even though half the book is invested in Anjum, we finally meet her in the closing chapters. This is when impatient readers like me could ask -why did we even read about her then?

It may seem unpurposeful yet it is fundamentally poetic. ( )
  diptiih333 | Jul 2, 2021 |
Naively , as it now seems , I expected her next fiction to be insulated from the political turn her life has taken since God of Small Things. This book is nothing but political , from snide remarks on the current Hindu political echelons (strangely all non Hindu are either spared a mention or are let off with just small remarks) to the tragedy that is Kashmir, it encompasses everything that is caused , supposedly , by the Hindus .
Her way of writing is still beautiful and enchanting and a lot similar to her previous fiction . Whereas , God of Small Things was a dirge and every page reminded you of that ; this book starts from fiery mockery, moves to despair and ends in hope. However, what this book lacks is a story . The writer has aptly said it is "everything" and the book has everything but a story .
I have read a lot of books dealing with human rights violation and war torn countries , however this book will be different for me cause here I am not a third party reader who can afford humanitarian emotions behind the shield of their third partiness . Here , I am the villain , my choices , my birth is causing innumerable tragedy to people pan country and I am supposed to suck it up and accept it . I am the priveleged one and my struggle does not require mention.

Coming back to the story or the semblance of story this book provides , I don't get why did she use such characters to project her story. I feel Anjum , her identity , her life and her guest house was wasted, this sure was a character with a lot of potential who was relegated to a secondary position. Kashmir , I have no complains about. The writer calls mainland India as occupants (by the time the book ended I was convinced we in fact are the occupants) and shows the struggle of the Kashmiris (Pakistan , the terrorist all are spared critical analysis) with finesse yet she shows how the Kashmiris are clueless as to what to do next if this goal is accomplished. I don't get why was Tilo's angle introduced . The character sure is attractive. Why did Musa selfishly bring Tilo into the entire mess. The sad ending of Amrik Singh and the way Biplob Dasgupta was going , seemed to be like a childish dream of the writer . The very thought that the wrongs that you did to us will haunt you down seemed utopic.

There were some good parts like Dr Azad Bharatiya and the brood of misfits which gave an eery sense of beauty .

There were some thorns that still pricks - her selective choice of presenting facts . The way a lot of vital actions were ignored or brushed under the carpet (actions that would show negatively on the religion she is portraying) .

I wish years from now this book will either be classified in the likes of Animal Farm or will be discarded as a propaganda. But, I don't think this book except the glossy writing deserves such thoughts.

In short , this book is a feast to beautiful writing but lacks cohesion or is a high budget movie that has good looking locales and actors but lacks a strong story. ( )
  __echo__ | May 11, 2021 |
I enjoyed "The Ministry of Utmost Happiness". It was a fascinating insight into an India, Pakistan and Kashmir that those who have never lived there will never know and the prose was often poetic. At times it felt like I was listening to a beloved elder relative wh0, although I knew had lived a fascinating life, had a tendency to ramble. Still I finally finished it and I feel somewhat enriched by having read it.
  KarenBayly | Apr 10, 2021 |
Visa 1-5 av 43 (nästa | visa alla)
This review gives order and intelligence to the spectrum of bad reviews about this mysterious book. This book contains a secret code of mystical nature, and must be read several times. Attainment is as good as the trouble inflicted in the lifetime of the protagonist....Read on
 
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I mean, it's all a matter of your heart...
Nâzim Hikmet
In what language does rain fall / over tormented cities?
Pablo Neruda
Death flies in, thin bureaucrat, from the plains--
--Agha Shahid Ali
Then, as she had already died four or five times, the apartment had remained available for a drama more serious than her own death.
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And they would not believe me precisely because they would know that what I said was true.
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At magic hour, when the sun has gone but the light has not, armies of flying foxes unhinge themselves from the Banyan trees in the old graveyard and drift across the city like smoke.
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WHERE DO OLD BIRDS GO TO DIE?
She lived in the graveyard like a tree.
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The moment I saw her, a part of me walked out of my body and wrapped itself around her. And there is still remains. (Page 256)
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"A richly moving new novel--the first since the author's Booker Prize-winning, internationally celebrated debut, The God of Small Things, went on to become a beloved best seller and enduring classic. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety--in search of meaning, and of love. In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they have just met. A braided narrative of astonishing force and originality, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once a love story and a provocation--a novel as inventive as it is emotionally engaging. It is told with a whisper, in a shout, through joyous tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, have been broken by the world we live in--and then mended by love. For this reason, they will never surrender. How to tell a shattered story? By slowly becoming everybody. No. By slowly becoming everything. Humane and sensuous, beautifully told, this extraordinary novel demonstrates on every page the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts"-- "An epic novel of love and history and the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy"--

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