The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: `The Literary Read of the Summer' - Time
A novel full of the essence of India. Roy portrays so many fascinating characters that at times I felt overwhelmed. I think however that this added to the confusion of the whole political situation being explored in the novel. I was particularly interested in the relationships between Tilo, Musa, Naga and Biplab. Now that I have finished reading the novel I really would like to start again and absorb more of the characters.
A proof copy was given to me at Book Swap Durham
This is an engrossing book whose characters are real and engaging. The plot is multi-layered and you need to maintain a sense of direction. All of life's events are here and an Indian friend says that it describes accurately Indian attitudes and obsessions.
Whilst not as good, in my view, as The God of Small Things, I really loved this busy, bustling novel. I loved the characters, the feel it gave for India, the story, and the writing style. It's a long novel with lots of people in it and you have to keep your wits about you to keep up but if you're up for that then go for it! The effort will be worth it. It's heart rending and heart warming, it's hilarious and tragic, it's a glorious journey into India and her many facets, most of which you'd never see as a tourist. I hope the rest of Book Swap, Durham agrees when they get to read it. I've had a sneaky preview and think it will be a great one for discussion.
I am afraid I really didn’t get on at all with this book and didn’t manage to finish it. Unfortunately everyone in our book group who tackled it had the same problem.
Looking at other reviews online it seems that this book polarised opinions - sadly I came down on the wrong side. It was just too difficult to follow, too confusing and didn't seem to have a beginning, a middle or (I assume) an end.
I really don't like giving bad reviews to books that have obviously taken a lot of blood, sweat and tears to write but I'm afraid it just wasn't my cup of tea. Maybe it was too intellectual, too political, too flowery, too something. I really don't know what the reason was but I struggled with it.