15 June, 2021

"A Novel Is Like A Prayer, A Layered Universe..."

The story-strands in Arundhati Roy's new novel 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness', spin out to encompass and tie up almost all the themes that drove her non-fiction in the 20 years since her first novel, but it's also a vision of dark, comic-fabulist genius.

Photograph by Tribhuvan Tiwari
"A Novel Is Like A Prayer, A Layered Universe..."
outlookindia.com
2017-06-03T12:33:49+05:30

In the charming, anachronistic bustle of Old Delhi, in a café nestled in an alley that winds down from Jama Masjid like a little rebellious story, Arundhati Roy talks about her new novel, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness. Its main locale is here, in this twilight city, but its story-strands spin out to encompass almost all the themes that drove her non-fiction in the 20 years since her first novel The God of Small Things. Excerpts from a conversation with Sunil Menon:

I think we have a marvellous book here. You do get the feeling, though, that the strands may have developed independently at various points in time, and you found a way to graft them together.

No, no…I was writing them simultaneously, laterally, from the beginning. I was not writing one chapter and then another.

So there really was a master plan…an architect’s draught.

Yes. That is, for me, fundamental to fiction writing.

So nothing goes out of hand in the writing, no...

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