The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

A Novel

Large Print - 2017
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"An epic novel of love and history and the perseverance of the human spirit in the face of loss and tragedy"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: [New York] :, Random House Large Print,, [2017]
ISBN: 9780525590095
Characteristics: 657 pages (large print) ; 24 cm
large print.,rda


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February 1, 2018 selection

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Mar 21, 2018

This book is a mandatory read for the Canadian Broadcasting Company and its reporters, who conveniently refuse to address Gujarat ka Lalle's extremism and Hindu nationalist blood shedding in Rajasthan and Kashmir, in their coverage of India - Canada relations.

Mar 14, 2018

Innovative, interesting, complex and harrowing, this novel is an indictment of the "new India" and the oppression in Kashmir and elsewhere under a nationalist Hindu government.

SCL_Justin Jan 25, 2018

The confusion I felt about whether this book is a novel or a collection of linked short stories seems appropriate to a story about hijras and transgender people, and the politics of Kashmir and policing in modern India. These aren't topics that are easily separated into nice boxes, and this book does an excellent job of immersing the reader in that ambiguity. Of course that comes at the cost of a nice simple storyline, but I think it's worth it for the scenes and relationships we get to experience.

Jan 19, 2018


Jan 04, 2018

Can't see what all the fuss is about. Have preferred many other Indian authors.

Oct 25, 2017

With regret, after 200 pages I finally had to give up and acknowledge that I still don't know what this book is all about. I found much of it unintelligible, partly because it's filled with words whose meaning remains a mystery to me; in many cases I could not determine whether words referred to persons, events, places, concepts or whatever. Add to that a plot that appears to be going nowhere, a vast number of characters whose relationship to one another or their importance to the story are not apparent. And then add the preponderance of exasperatingly stupid religious animosity and what have we got left? All I can perceive is an exposition of the vast, irreconcilable disconnect between the government and the governed, where those in power regard most of the populace with contempt and much of the populace view the government and its minions as agents of murder, corruption and oppression. Referring to India as "the world's largest democracy" is obviously a sad joke. But does that make for a good novel?
Ms. Roy is a very angry woman. Anger, well channeled and skillfully wielded can be compelling. But here, there are just too many other problems with the writing that get in the way.
Almost two stars in recognition of some gritty humor and one very promising protagonist. The rest I could have done without.

Sep 26, 2017

This was a difficult book to read. It traveled back and forth in time, and skipped without warning from one place to another. I almost put it down, but couldn't. So many scenes were so unlikely. An hermaphrodte is born to a woman who wants a son so badly she hides his abnormality as long as she can. He grows up and lives as a flamboyant and rather famous Hijra (transgender) in a Hijra house. Later, he sets up housekeeping in a graveyard and is joined by a changing cast of misfits, philosophers, cast offs, and more-or-less ordinary off-beat characters. There's a mysterious baby who appears suddenly and then disappears but is cared for tenderly by one of the graveyard sometimes-dwellers. There are relationships that twist and bind over the course of decades. There's much love, much loneliness, much connectedness, much sadness, much triumph. I gave this book four stars because it won me over so decisively when I was on the fence. But I couldn't stop thinking about it, so I changed that to five stars. The writing and characterization and insights into human feelings were simply beautiful.

Aug 28, 2017

I'm with Brangwinn on her comments. Was so excited to read a book by the Author of the God of Small Things, but found this one long and confusing.

Cynthia_N Aug 16, 2017

I struggled with this one. It was at times a beautiful story with characters I liked but it wasn't enough for me to really enjoy reading it. Three stars because of the character Anjum.

Aug 08, 2017

Highly complex, and polemical at times, but frequently poetic and worth persisting through the confusing parts. It gave me a real feel for a rapidly developing country and Kashmir in particular.

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