Indian author Arundhati Roy releases first novel in 20 years

Source:AFP Published: 2017/6/6 17:13:39

Arundhati Roy's eagerly awaited second novel goes on sale Tuesday, two decades after her prize-winning debut The God of Small Things propelled her to global fame and launched her career as an outspoken critic of injustice in her native India.

In the years that followed, she turned to non-fiction writing, taking on issues ranging from poverty and globalization to the conflict in Kashmir in essays that were often highly critical of India's ruling class.

Her campaigning earned her the wrath of many in the Indian establishment and has clearly influenced her latest novel The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which she has said took 10 years to produce.

Publisher Penguin says it takes the reader "from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi into the burgeoning new metropolis" and on to the troubled Kashmir Valley and the jungles of central India, wracked by rebellion.

"There was this huge sense of urgency when I was writing the political essays, each time you wanted to blow a space open, on any issue," Roy told The Hindu daily in an interview published last week.

"But fiction takes its time and is layered... It is not just a human rights report about how many people have been killed and where. How do you describe the psychosis of what is going on? Except through fiction."

Internationally she remains a huge draw, lauded both for her activism and her writing, and the reviews for her second novel have been broadly positive.

The Financial Times said it was "as remarkable as her first," and promised her admirers would not be disappointed, while The New Yorker called it a "scarring novel of India's modern history."

Still there have been critics.

"Ministry is two decades of polemic distilled into one book, with a superstructure of fiction to hold it together," said The Economist. "It does not work."

Posted in: BOOKS

blog comments powered by Disqus