The Ministry of Utmost Happiness
- Bewertet: gebundene Ausgabe
In Old Delhi, the hijra Anjum sets up her life in a graveyard. She is joined by a former mortuary worker who calls himself Saddam Hussein. Another outcast joins them, Tilottama, and there is a baby who seems to have appeared from nowhere and belong to nobody. This groups fates are narrated through time and in different places o... In Old Delhi, the hijra Anjum sets up her life in a graveyard. She is joined by a former mortuary worker who calls himself Saddam Hussein. Another outcast joins them, Tilottama, and there is a baby who seems to have appeared from nowhere and belong to nobody. This groups fates are narrated through time and in different places of India and Kashmir. All of the characters face struggles due to the political situation, either protest in Delhi or the long-lasting conflict in the Kashmir region and thus portray India in a very special way - India of the people at the fringe of society. Arundhati Roys second novel might be the most awaited book of 2017. It took her twenty years to write it after her debut success The God of Small Things and the yardstick has been set very high for the successor. Admittedly, I struggled with the novel which is mainly caused by the plots structure. The story is only in party narrated in a chronological way, other sections are meandering and at times the different characters and setting were not always easy to link with each other for me. Second, the novel is highly political and if you are not familiar with Indias recent history and political struggles, a lot might be lost for you as a reader of this novel (at least I assume so). Nevertheless, there were also a lot of aspects that I really liked. Arundhati Roy definitely is a master of words. In subtle ways she finds possibilities of expressing what happens and thus adding second or even third meanings. When Anjum has set up her small guest house in the graveyard, she is regularly inspected by municipal officers who are not man enough to chase her away. Considering Anjums situation as hermaphrodite, this is quite interesting to observe. Then her permanent resident who calls himself Saddam Hussein, another outcast who chose this name in admiration for the former leaders courage in the face of death. Or when Tilo ponders about some men killed in a car accident and their fate and whom this actually concerns since they would have died anyway and wonders about how to unknow certain things, certain specific things that she knew but did not wish to know (pos. 3095). Summarising the stats situation in political upeheal best are the following two quotes: There were rumours and couterrumours. There were rumours that might have been true, and truths that ought to have been just rumours. (pos. 3681) and Life went on. Death went on. The war went on. (pos. 3835) How can one survive in this situation, especially as an outcast? You have to fight for yourself and accordingly, it is the two women who become strong and leaders quite a surprise in the countrys strict caste system. The insight in how Indias society works is for me the most remarkable aspect of the novel. Not considering it as a whole, there are many stories within the novel which give you an understanding of the countrys culture and are thought-provoking.