Likened to the works of Faulkner and Dickens when it was first published 20 years ago, this extraordinarily accomplished debut novel is a brilliantly plotted story of forbidden love and piercing political drama, centered on the tragic decline of an Indian family in the state of Kerala, on the southernmost tip of India. Armed only with the invincible innocence of children, the twins Rahel and Esthappen fashion a childhood for themselves in the shade of the wreck that is their family.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years. It takes us deep into the lives of its gloriously rendered characters, each of them in search of a place of safety - in search of meaning and of love.
Set against a background of political turbulence in Kerala, Southern India, The God of Small Things tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel. Amongst the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother's factory, they try to craft a childhood for themselves amidst what constitutes their family - their lonely, lovely mother; their beloved uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist and bottom pincher); and their avowed enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grand-aunt).
From the poisoned rivers, barren wells, and clear-cut forests, to the hundreds of thousands of farmers who have committed suicide to escape punishing debt, to the hundreds of millions of people who live on less than two dollars a day, there are ghosts nearly everywhere you look in India. India is a nation of 1.2 billion, but the country's 100 richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of India’s gross domestic product.
In a city graveyard, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet between two graves. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby appears quite suddenly, a little after midnight, in a crib of litter. In a snowy valley, a father writes to his five-year-old daughter about the number of people that attended her funeral. And in the Jannat Guest House, two people who've known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around one another as though they have only just met.
Set against a background of political turbulence in Kerala, Southern India, The God of Small Things tells the story of twins Esthappen and Rahel. Amongst the vats of banana jam and heaps of peppercorns in their grandmother’s factory, they try to craft a childhood for themselves amidst what constitutes their family: their lonely, lovely mother; their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist, and bottom-pincher); and their avowed enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun and incumbent grand-aunt).
In late 2014, Arundhati Roy, John Cusack, and Daniel Ellsberg traveled to Moscow to meet with Edward Snowden. The result is a series of essays and dialogues in which Roy and Cusack reflect on their conversations with Snowden. In these provocative and penetrating discussions, Roy and Cusack discuss the nature of the state, empire, and surveillance in an era of perpetual war, the meaning of flags and patriotism, the role of foundations and NGOs in limiting dissent, and the ways in which capital but not people can freely cross borders.