‘How to tell a shattered story?
By slowly becoming everybody?
By slowly becoming everything’
and THAT sums up the book.
After reflection between reading this book is not a mess but rather a reflection of life. The way personal destinies destinies cross and entwine themselves with history, which in turn becomes a personal history. Roy stuffs a lot in this novel and, although daunting, it makes perfect sense.
I saw the main message as a snapshot of India’s history from partition and the after effects which still are present in the 21st century: the suffering, the political maneuvers, the campaigns but Roy also includes a human side and that’s with her character. It also ends up being a commentary on attitudes on sexuality, the notion of gender, the caste system and we readers get doses of Indian mythology, traditions, prayers and details about typical Indian dishes. Not only is this a novel of purposeful information overload but it is sprawling. In fact dozens of comparisons kept flashing in my mind – Jodrowsky, Rushdie, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Sashi Tharoor and even a bit of Arundhati Roy’s previous book,, The God of Small Things popped up.
Is it an enjoyable read? In places I thought it was pure genius, other times I did feel a bit disengaged from the narrative but when these occasions were brief and Roy would throw in a plot twist or something like that and I would focus on the book again.
Definitely not a book to read once and I am sure that the second time round (hopefully in a year or so) there will be new discoveries.
Maybe it’s not the masterpiece as Roy’s first novel but Ministry… is delves deeper into Roy’s political mind and is open to more interpretation and dissecting.