The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

Arundhati Roy, read by the author. Random House Audio, , unabridged, 13 CDs, 16.5 hrs., $50 ISBN 978-0-525-49458-4
Twenty years after the publication of The God of Small Things, Roy proves once again that she is a master writer; unfortunately, she is not a master audiobook narrator. The book tells the stories of two protagonists: Anjum, born intersex but raised as a male and now living as a woman in a house with other hijra in Delhi, and Tilo, a politically minded young woman romantically entangled with three men. The two stories are set against a wide-ranging portrait of the social and political fabric of modern India. Yet much of both characters’ complexity gets lost in Roy’s reading. Roy works too hard at carefully pronouncing every word. This slows the pace of the narrative and so focuses the listener’s attention on each word that the meaning of the sentence is lost. While she can be quite dramatic when quoting one of her characters, she drops her voice at the end of almost every sentence, creating a painfully monotonous rhythm. Roy’s poetic language and her quirky metaphors and similes remain hallmarks of her remarkable writing style, and she is rightfully known for those rather than for her abilities as a narrator. A Knopf hardcover. (June)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2017
Release date: 06/01/2017
Genre: Audio
Hardcover - 464 pages - 978-0-7352-3434-5
Hardcover - 464 pages - 978-1-5247-3315-5
Paperback - 672 pages - 978-0-525-59009-5
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-5094-4507-3
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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