Arundhati Roy to Publish Second Novel After 20-Year Wait

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is due out in 2017

Yesterday, Arundhati Roy announced the long awaited followup to her 1997 debut novel, the Booker-winning The God of Small Things. According to her publisher, Hamish Hamilton, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness will be out sometime in 2017. In a joint PR statement, Simon Prosser, of Hamish Hamilton UK, and Meru Gokhale, of Penguin Random House India, showered the novel with glowing preliminary praise, lauding both the “extrodinary” writing and characters who are “brought to life with…generosity and empathy…joyfully reminding us that words are alive too.” For her part, Roy said that she was “glad to report that the mad souls (even the wicked ones) in The Ministry of Utmost Happiness have found a way into the world.”

Fans of Roy may owe a “thank you” to John Berger. According to The Guardian’s report, the English writer urged Roy to focus intensely on completing the novel back in 2011. Roy remarked that she was “with John at his home, and he said: ‘You open your computer now and you read to me whatever fiction you are writing.’ He is perhaps the only person in the world that could have the guts to say that to me. And I read a bit to him and he said: ‘You just go back to Delhi and you finish that book.’ So I said ‘OK’.”

That isn’t to say Roy wasn’t busy writing over the last twenty years — she certainly was. Her riveting political non-fiction pieces, which cover issues in India and abroad, display the stunning prose and keen insights that won her fiction critical acclaim. In case you missed or forgot them, we’ve collected some of our favorites below:

“Gandhi, But with Guns” (in person reporting on the Maoist guerrilla forces deep in the Indian forrest)

“Not Again” (a critical analysis of the U.S. invasion of Iraq written in 2002)

“The End of Imagination” (on the Indian nuclear program)

“Brutality Smeared in Peanut Butter” (an analysis of the flawed U.S. position in Afganistan)

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