The Ministry of Utmost Happiness – By Arundhati Roy

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Goodreads Synopsis: 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 love 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.

Find on Goodreads and Amazon.

This book was one of the nominees for 2017’s Goodreads Choice Awards, which is why I decided to read it.

This is a book I think I will have to go back to someday when I have more time to really invest in it. I was expecting it to be a much faster read, as I had been plowing through my adult fiction reads at the time.  But The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is not a fast read, it’s a ponderous read. Which isn’t a bad thing! I really liked the writing style a lot. In fact I would consider reading other books by this author first before I tried this particular book again.

My problem with the book was the fact that I wasn’t sure where the story was going.  The entire time I was reading I was asking what was the point, and I hate asking that question in a book for so long. I was over 100 pages in and I just wasn’t sure what was going on.

I liked the diversity in this book, the main character is intersex and I really wanted to like her character but found I wasn’t being connected with her as emotionally as I wanted to. This book is more about the world than it is about the characters.

In the end I gave it 2.5 stars on Goodreads.


  1. I’ve been reading such mixed reviews on this title that I’ve been a bit hesitant to give it a go. Thank you for your honesty in this review! 🙂

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