Iconic Indian writer Arundhati Roy returns to fiction after two decades

Published: October 3, 2016
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PHOTO: NYTIMES

PHOTO: NYTIMES

Nearly twenty years after winning the Man Booker Prize for her debut novel The God of Small Things in 1997, Arundhati Roy is set to return to fiction with The Ministry of Utmost Happiness.

“I am glad to report that the mad souls (even the wicked ones) in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness have found a way into the world, and that I have found my publishers,” Roy said in a statement.

“Only Arundhati could have written this novel,” her literary agent David Godwin said. “Utterly original. It has been 20 years in the making. And well worth the wait,” Godwin said.

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The Indian writer has covered topics ranging from the US invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan to a condemnation of India’s nuclear tests in her nonfiction work. Her debut novel The God of Small Things was a story of twins Rahel and Estha growing up in Kerala.

Publishers Hamish Hamilton announced Roy’s second novel on Monday, calling it “one of the finest we have read in recent times”, and “an incredible book…on multiple levels”.

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“The writing is extraordinary, and so too are the characters – brought to life with such generosity and empathy, in language of the utmost freshness, joyfully reminding us that words are alive too, that they can wake us up and lend us new ways of seeing, feeling, hearing, engaging. It makes the novel new – in the original meaning of novel,” Simon Prosser of Penguin imprint Hamish Hamilton in the UK and Meru Gokhale of Penguin Random House India said in a joint statement.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is set to be published in 2017.

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