5 Must Reads by Arundhati Roy

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Arundhati Roy is an icon. She is an Indian author best known for her contribution to literature and activism. Her novel ‘The God of Small Things’ won the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1997. Her words are mesmerizing and powerful. Here are five recommendations to read if you’re new to her work!

5. Capitalism — A Ghost Story

book, capitalism a ghost sotyr, arundhati roy

Roy writes about poisoned rivers and barren wells. She writes about farmers’ suicides and increasing debts.

She raises a voice for the millions of people who fall below the poverty line. Arundhati writes about the nation with a major population living under a budget of 20 INR led by some of the world’s richest people in the world. 

Capitalism is a ghost that haunts the streets of India. This book explores the dark underbelly of democracy in post-colonial India. The work demonstrates how globalized capitalism has subjected Indian population to extreme kinds of exploitation. 

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4. The Algebra of Infinite Justice

The Algebra of Infinite Justice, arundhati roy, book

The Algebra of Infinite Justice (2001) discusses the impact of-

  • Public work projects on the environment.
  • Multinational corporations on policy in weakened countries.
  • India’s political elation above its successful nuclear bomb testing. 

Arundhati wrote these essays to read, debate, challenge, and also uplift the audience. These pieces meticulously reveal and carefully argue the tolls of war on a country. She also writes with rage, and grief and mourns the loss of her once peace-loving nation. We may have only seen one side of the thermonuclear advancement India made, but Arundhati speaks of the hidden side of this project – the lives it affected and the mess it made. 

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3. The Cost of Living

The Cost of Living​, arundhati roy, book, women, image

Gigantic dam projects and India’s First Nuclear Bomb testing in Pokhran are the heart of ‘The Cost of Living’. 

Roy exposes the hidden price of democracy and prosperity by combining her voice with moral fury and imaginative breadth. She shows the brutal reality that many ends up sacrificing their lives for the luxury of a few. 

She draws a fire-traced sketch of the Indian socio-economic backdrop. 

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2. The Ministry of Utmost Happiness

the ministry of utmost happiness, arundhati roy, book, rose

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness takes us on a years long journey of grieving individuals, cramped Old Delhi neighborhoods, and much more. 

We travel through Delhi’s metropolis to Indian Administered Valley of Kashmir and Central India’s forests. We travel through cultures and lives that have learned war is peace and peace is unknown. 

Through the complexities of this novel, we are revealed to the lives that not only surprise but shock readers. We learn love and unlearn it through the eyes of Anjum. We discover war in Kashmir will never truly resolve. We learn humans don’t know peace after they have known war.

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1. The God of Small Things

the god of small things, arundhati roy, book, flowers

The God of Small Things deals with abuse, grief, and trauma. It talks about Indian history, politics, and religions. Roy carefully examines the post-colonial views of many Indians towards their former British overlords. 

The characters are “stuck outside their own history and incapable of tracing their steps.” The God of Small Things captivates the theme of generational trauma against the backdrop of a casteist society. 

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Zarnab Tufail

Zarnab Tufail is a Pakistani writer & artist. She is a second-year medical student in Gujranwala where she is a representative of the Gemcian Debating Society. She is the co-Founder and Editor-In-Chief at The Walled City Journal. She has received scholarships and awards from the University of Health & Sciences, and the University of Iowa, among others. She is passionate about feminism, gender equality, and female representation in the healthcare system. She enjoys contemporary poetry, beaches, sunsets, and french fries. Her work can be found in Vagabond City Lit, Changing Womxn Collective, Coven Editions, In Parentheses, and elsewhere.

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