The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

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By Sandra Newman

Twenty years have passed since Arundhati Roy’s debut novel The God of Small Things was published to instant best-sellerdom and international acclaim. In those two decades, she turned her back on fiction to devote herself to nonfiction, and to political activism in her native India. The preoccupations of those years are apparent in her long-awaited second novel. 

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness begins with Anjum, a Hijra — one of India’s traditionally accepted transgender women. We follow her through her childhood and her coming of age as trans; from the outset, these sections have the bewitching prose, the bracing idiosyncrasy, the seductive pathos that made Roy’s first book a universal favorite.

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Vol. 12 - No. 3


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