The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
Arundhati Roy's new novel gives us a glorious cast of unforgettable characters, caught up in the tide of history, each in search of a place of safety. It is at once a love story and a provocation, an emotional embrace and a decisive remonstration. It is told with a whisper, with a shout, with tears and with a laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, human as well as animal, have been broken by the world we live in and then mended by love. And for this reason they will never surrender. (From Hamish Hamilton)
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is on the 2017 Man Booker Prize longlist.
She lived in the graveyard like a tree. At dawn she saw the crows off and welcomed the bats home. At dusk she did the opposite. Between shifts she conferred with the ghosts of vultures that loomed in her high branches. She felt the gentle grip of their talons like an ache in an amputed limb. She gathered they weren't altogether unhappy at having excused themselves and exited from the story.
When she first moved in, she endured months of casual cruelty like a tree would — without flinching. She didn't turn to see which small boy had thrown a stone at her, didn't crane her neck to read the insults scratched into her bark. When people called her names — clown without a circus, queen without a palace — she let the hurt blow through her branches like a breeze and used the music of her rustling leaves as balm to ease the pain.
From The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy ©2017. Published by Hamish Hamilton.