Almost two decades after her debut novel God of Small Things, a second work of fiction from the Booker Prize winning author Arundhati Roy, with the name Ministry of Utmost Happiness, is all set to be released by June 2017.
Roy’s publisher in UK Simon Prosser tweeted on Thursday revealing the name of her new book, gifting a good news to many, who are eagerly waiting for her second novel for 19 years.
Only Arundhati could have written this novel. Utterly original. It has been 20 years in the making. And well worth the wait.To publish this book is both a pleasure and an honour. What an incredible book it is—on multiple levels; one of the finest we have read in recent times.Simon Prosser
The novel will be published by Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Random House, in the UK.
“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,” Ms. Roy said.
“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 novels,” she added.
Though she had written several volumes of non-fiction, essays, interviews and works of journalism over the last two decades, she had refrained from penning a new novel since The God of Small Things that won the Booker Prize in 1997.
The 54-year-old, instead of concentrating on fictions, used her stature to indulge in social activism. She was in the forefront of fighting for the rights of Dalits and marginalised sections of the society. She made several attempts to document the tussle between Maoists and ruling governments. Issues of tribal people in the northeast was another main area she focused on. Ms. Roy also came down heavily against US military interventions in Afghanistan. She was slapped with a sedition case in 2010 for her controversial comments on disputed Kashmir region.
Recently, Arundhathi hit the headlines after a period of silence after she was featured on the cover of Elle magazine. She had to come up with an explanation after the move drew much flak from multiple corners. She said she wanted to break the myth of the typical Indian beauty.
"I'm a black woman. Most of us are. Ninety percent of us are. This obsession that Indians have with white skin and straight hair makes me sick," she told the magazine.