Writer-activist Arundhati Roy is all set to publish her second novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, in June this year, nearly 20 years after her debut novel The God of Small Things won the Man Booker Prize.
The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which was first announced in October, is a contemporary story set on the Indian sub-continent, where it delved into the lives of several characters, “each of them in search of a place of safety-in search of meaning, and of love,” according to the book’s description.
Those characters, whom Roy referred to as “mad souls,” include a resident of a graveyard on the outskirts of Old Delhi, a baby on a sidewalk, a bereaved father writing a letter to his deceased daughter, a lone woman reading through old notebooks in her apartment, and a couple at a guest house.
The book’s release has now been set for release on June 6 internationally, and a cover — which features a photograph of stone by photojournalist Mayank Austen Soofi — has now been revealed.
Roy’s debut novel, The God of Small Things, was first published in 1997 and won the Booker Prize the same year. It told the story of fraternal twins both in 1969, when they are children growing up in Kerala, India, and later on, when they are reunited in their 30s. As it pieces together the death of their half-English cousin, Sophie Mol, who drowned in the river by their family’s house when they were young, it shifts between time periods and ties in the social rules and class politics of India.
While the author makes her second foray into fiction with the new novel, she has been active in writing non-fiction — particularly essays on social causes — since her Booker win. Her non-fiction works include Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers and Capitalism: A Ghost Story.
Her 2016 book Things That Can and Cannot Be Said: Essays and Conversations was co-authored with actor John Cusack and sees the two reflect on conversations they had with whistleblower Edward Snowden on a 2014 trip to Moscow.
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