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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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  •  
    Rachel Redford 20/06/2017
    Rachel Redford 20/06/2017 Member Since 2015

    Writer and audiobook reviewer.

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    "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'!


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    KMV 19/06/2017
    KMV 19/06/2017
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    "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
  •  
    Mrs 12/06/2017
    Mrs 12/06/2017 Member Since 2013
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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
  •  
    25/06/2017
    25/06/2017
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    "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 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amelia 05/08/2017
    Amelia 05/08/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Worse than poor narrator"

    This is a good interesting story but boy does the reader have to work hard to get to it. I had to go over several sections to follow what was going on.
    The narrator is the author and while this lady can write her narrative skills are seriously below par. It was so difficult to keep up with the monotonous tone.
    I presume the author did not want to put people off reading her book so why do this self narrative.
    I think this is below standard I would expect from Audible and would recommend its immediate withdrawal to be narrated by qualified person and re issued.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andri 20/07/2017
    Andri 20/07/2017 Member Since 2015
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    "Struggled and gave up"

    Relieved I'm not alone in finding the narration deadened the story which is disappointing for both the author and me. I may buy the book and read it myself when I retire.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zazie Belgium 24/06/2017
    Zazie Belgium 24/06/2017 Member Since 2014

    artsybooks

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    "A book filled with thoughts and images"

    I enjoyed Arundhati Roy's reading. I learned to take time to read. It may seem slow at moments, but this complex story is mot one to hurry.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fluid 13/07/2017
    Fluid 13/07/2017 Member Since 2017
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    "Dreadful Narration"
    What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

    Really should have got a professional to read this.


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    So monotone and no differentiation between characters and general narration. A real shame.


    Any additional comments?

    I end up not being able to follow the story line and identify characters because of the narration.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nomad Design 20/07/2017
    Nomad Design 20/07/2017
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    "Couldn't finish it..."

    I heard A.R talking about the book Ron BBC radio 4 and was instantly intrigued. Sadly I am halfway through and have no idea what is going on, who is connected to whom or what that book is even about. The narrator is everything except intriguing or emotive, and quite monotonous. Written in a very strange way with very short phrases and long winded and unnecessary descriptions. Very perplexed and very disappointed. Such a shame because I love Indian culture and literature.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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  • Abhigyan
    08/08/17
    Overall
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    "beautifully written , a simple yet storming story"

    beautifully written, there's magic in this book , I mean real magic , must read . a story from the heart .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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