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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness Audiobook

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

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Publisher's Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, written and read by Arundhati Roy.

An intimate author-read recording of the richly moving new novel - the first since the author's Booker-Prize winning, internationally celebrated debut, The God of Small Things, went on to become a beloved best seller and enduring classic.

Arundhati's voice transports us across a subcontinent on a journey of many years in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. 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.

In a graveyard outside the walls of Old Delhi, a resident unrolls a threadbare Persian carpet. On a concrete sidewalk, a baby suddenly appears, just after midnight. In a snowy valley, a bereaved father writes a letter to his five-year-old daughter about the people who came to her funeral. In a second-floor apartment, a lone woman chain-smokes as she reads through her old notebooks. At the Jannat Guest House, two people who have known each other all their lives sleep with their arms wrapped around each other, as though they have just met.

A braided narrative of astonishing force and originality, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is at once a love story and a provocation - a novel as inventive as it is emotionally engaging. It is told with a whisper, in a shout, through joyous tears and sometimes with a bitter laugh. Its heroes, both present and departed, have been broken by the world we live in - and then mended by love. For this reason, they will never surrender.

How to tell a shattered story?

By slowly becoming everybody.

No.

By slowly becoming everything.

Humane and sensuous, beautifully narrated by the author herself, this extraordinary audiobook demonstrates the miracle of Arundhati Roy's storytelling gifts.

©2017 Arundhati Roy (P)2017 Penguin Books Ltd.

What Members Say

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  • KMV
    6/19/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Buried in the undergrowth of a forgotten garden"

    I can only think that Ms Roy used almost every fibre of her being to write this book. For anybody who has lived in a place where all is not as it seems on a fairly grand, enduring scale you'll appreciate the layers upon layers of this narrative. If those are not experiences familiar to you then the beauty of the images countered by others quite unexpected, some funny, many thought provoking, may hold your attention. I hope the person who gave the first review tries again. Ms Roy's reading may not be polished to perfection, but that is what gives this audiobook both charm and a sense of the story's immense wealth.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Rachel Redford
    6/20/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A definite should-read!"


    Arundhati Roy’s follow-up to her 1997 Booker Prize winning The God of Small Things has been long awaited, and after her twenty years as a high profile political activist, it is no surprise that listening to 16 hours of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a challenging, deeply uncomfortable but rewarding experience.

    There’s a sort of narrative following mainly Anjum, a transwoman struggling to live in Delhi and finally finding some kind of peace along with others in a city graveyard, and Tilo a strong woman activist not unlike Roy herself and the three men who fall unhappily in love with her. Around these few lives are woven looping skeins of other lives in this huge, sprawling, disjointed, polemical, hydra-headed work - fiction blended with myth, poetry and a justified raging fury against the myriad corruptions and cruelties of modern India and a fired by a determination to give a voice to the disregarded suffering millions.

    For me, it’s a work of righteous fury based on Roy’s 20 years of activism – whether it’s concerning the victims of Bhopal walking 3 weeks to make another protest with their ‘macabre bunting’ of birth defects to be ignored once again; 2000 Muslims killed in revenge for Hindu pilgrims burned alive in their train; or most importantly her focus in this labyrinthine work the on-going, unsolved vicious battle over Kashmir in all its heart-breaking detail.

    In between these huge concerns are a torrent of others woven in including the building of dams at the expense of communities of poor people and the vast range of government scams – and all those on a small scale – bodies returned without eyes to their relatives; sharp practice in the Eid goat market; precious dead cows swollen with ingested plastic bags; vultures killed by eating carcasses of cows injected to increases their milk yield resulting in dead bodies not being disposed of...

    It’s the details that are so telling – the high-heeled young women who think it would such ‘fun’ to visit Kashmir, the woman chucking her rubbish over her balcony as her driver cleans the Toyota Corolla; the little girls in gold slippers trying to avoid the goats’ blood flowing down the street.

    Roy reads this lengthy work herself which is entirely appropriate as she knows where to communicate emphasis, compassion, horror and irony. She also reads the quite considerable amount of Hindi / Urdu (I don’t know what language it is) which I would skip if reading the book, but even without understanding the words, it adds to the absorption of the work.

    Definitely a 'should-read'!


    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  • Mrs
    6/12/17
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    Performance
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    "Couldn't finish 😢"

    Sadly gave up listening. I was so looking forward to Arundhati Roy's new book and was excited by the thought of the narration given by the author as I had heard her being interviewed.
    The first hour or two was just lovely but as the story became more complex the quality of the narration faltered. Some long passages sounded monotone and small phrases were paused at the end of sentences then quickly added as if the voice was catching up with the readers eyes. It really detracted from the enjoyment of and concentration on the story. I suspect we are getting used to such fabulous and professional narration that when a slightly amateurish attempt is presented, it is just too noticeable. Happy to have another go with another narrator at a later time.

    11 of 14 people found this review helpful
  • Anonymous
    6/25/17
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    Performance
    Story
    "Poor narration. Will buy the book instead😕"

    Loved Roy's last book The God of Small Things and I think I will love this one too, but sadly have given up on this audible version as the narrator is just so poor. I was initially pleased when purchasing that Roy herself was the narrator as it can work well. This is a book of great detail, with many complex intertwining character's and their lives. The narration at times was flat and hurried. Understandably not all great author's are great narrator's - two very different skills.
    Audio should have picked this up. Will definitely buy and read the book!

    6 of 10 people found this review helpful
  • Ms. N. Ferguson-lees
    9/28/17
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    Performance
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    "fantastico"

    loved every bit of it and what a charming lullaby voice Roi has. charming and beautiful prose

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Ana R.
    9/24/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "confusing"

    Found it very confusing to follow. the narrator was excellent but couldn't understand what was gong on

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • lorraine henley
    romsey hampshire uk
    9/17/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Too taxing"

    Try as I might I could not bring myself to hear any more. So difficult to remember characters names and the story was so slow

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sarah
    9/16/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A beautiful novel"
    Where does The Ministry of Utmost Happiness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    My favourite audiobook so far.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Ministry of Utmost Happiness?

    I loved how the individual character's stories weaved amongst each other.


    Which scene did you most enjoy?

    Each section of the book held its own memorable moments but the imagery linked to the ever-changing cemetery was superb.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    It's a big book and needed to be heard in small chunks, allowing time for each section to resonate.


    Any additional comments?

    I particularly enjoyed the author's beautiful rhythmic narration - don't let some of the other reviews put you off!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • GR BUTLER
    9/4/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Beautifully read and utterly heartbreaking"

    The first thing to say is that the fact this incredible work is read by Roy herself is what makes what could otherwise be a daunting, diffuse and complex novel an absolute delight to listen to. She has a beautiful voice, with pathos and humour: you sense her enjoyment of her own words.

    The novel itself is long, with a vast array of characters, an achronological plot, split across decades and geographies. It features long passages that are often difficult to hear, accounts of rape, torture, massacres, riots and abuse. But for all the pain and suffering and injustices featured, and the inevitable discomfort this produces in the reader, the story revolves around ordinary, or rather extraordinary, people, coming together, finding one another, accepting and loving one another, and trying to create a space for themselves apart from the madness of twentyfirst century South Asia.

    The central characters thread through the narrative and you develop a real fondness for them, with all their flaws. You are scared for them, Angry for them, impressed by them and always ultimately rooting for them. No one is one dimensional. By the end of the novel they feel like members of your own family.

    There were several moments where I actually gasped at the beauty of Roy's language. She is a philosopher as well as a novelist, activist and commentator.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Nobby
    UK
    9/3/17
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "personal review"

    difficult to follow the vast number of characters and the changes in third person to first person. struggles to follow the writer's agenda. some lovely descriptions and observations is small things and use of English language is excellent. overall I would not read this again. it's hard work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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