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The Air We Breathe: A Conversation With Arundhati Roy

Source: The Nation

The writer discusses her new novel, love, justice, and Indian politics.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness is a formal departure for you. Your previous novel, The God of Small Things, was essentially about a family. By contrast, Ministry is a sprawling political novel: It addresses impunity, caste, institutional violence, the rise of Hindutva, the troubles in Kashmir. You allude to this through a funny in-joke: In “The Reader’s Digest Book of English Grammar and Comprehension for Very Young Children,” which your protagonist Tilo is composing, she confesses that she “would like to write one of those sophisticated stories in which, even though nothing much happens, there’s a lot to write about.” But then she admits that this “can’t be done in Kashmir. It’s not sophisticated what happens here. There’s too much blood for good literature.” What are the challenges of dealing with this sort of subject matter? read more