"How to tell a shattered story?
By slowly becoming everybody.
By slowly becoming everything.'
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on a journey of many years---the
story spooling outwards from the cramped neighbourhoods of Old Delhi into the
burgeoning new metropolis and beyond, to the Valley of Kashmir and the forests
of Central India, where war is peace and peace is war, and where, from time to
time, 'normalcy' is declared.
Anjum, who used to be Aftab, unrolls a threadbare carpet in a city graveyard
that she calls home. A baby appears quite suddenly on a pavement, a little after
midnight, in a crib of litter. The enigmatic S. Tilottama is as much of a presence
as she is an absence in the lives of the three men who loved her.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once an aching love story and a decisive
remonstration. It is told in a whisper, in a shout, through tears and sometimes
with a laugh. Its heroes are people who have been broken by the world they live
in and then rescued, mended by love---and by hope. For this reason, they are as
steely as they are fragile, and they never surrender. This ravishing, magnificent
book reinvents what a novel can do and can be. And it demonstrates on every
page the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts."