Apart from the poetic tone and the pathos as formal concessions from the prose, another thing that must be mentioned are the superb pages of semantic concessions from the prose. Tilo, who has a very complex relationship with her mother – no-mother, while she takes care of her dying mother, decides to write down her illogical, disjointed and fragmented blabbering, which are expressed in the novel in a very disciplined way on as many as six pages. These impressively designed senseless syntactic pieces, without specific meaning, or even logic… provide the basic rhythm of the music that was being sung and the one that will be sung; they provide the codes of the locked truths, but also the keys for the opened and slammed doors of the future…
“The Ministry…” is not “The God…”, “…the small things” are not “…utmost happiness”. The two novels are fascinating, enthralling and mesmerizing, a rare literary dexterity, patient threading of fiction in the needle of reality and vice versa. Both novels are turned into pain, but completely different. The pain in “The God of Small Things” is quiet, private, personal; the pain in “The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” („Министерство на неизмерна среќа“ – or however the future Macedonian translator translates it) is loud, bloody, common, national. The return of Arundhati Roy into fiction, after her long absence from it and the twenty-year stay in publishing and civil-political engagement has burdened her talent with too heavy a burden. It made it complicated, even if we relativize the fact that this superb author never was, never has been, simple. Yet, even complication has gradations and degrees. I consider that as much as it is delicate for the novels to be outside of the time and space in which they are created; it is equally delicate when they are too much inside time and space. “What is the acceptable amount of blood for good literature” the author asks herself in her own novel. If I could give her an answer, I would say: “Less, at least one drop less than there is in ‘The Ministry…’”.
“The Ministry…” is over-written, incoherent novel in terms of the genre. Too bold cuts, insufficiently disciplined and controlled extension, radicalized narrative techniques, piling of disobedient, multiplied aspects of the things to senseless perspective of every detail, putting too many pearls on the necklace, at the expense of the neck. “The Ministry…” suffers from too much of everything. The first part is not literarily indispensable the second so that it would be unable to exist without it; the second is not literarily indispensable to the first so that it would be unable to exist without it. Therefore, the coherence is seriously problematic. However…However… “The Ministry” is wonderful, over-written novel. Fascinating, one and only, imperfect, irresistible, irreplaceable.“The false results” that literature lovers see in the novel (just as people in love see the imperfections in their loved ones) do not affect the high mathematics of love, but only the exact one of recognition.
“The Ministry of Utmost Happiness” („Министерство на неизмерна среќа“ or however the future Macedonian translator translates it) is not as good a novel as “The God of Small Things”. I know, I see, I read, I understand, I realize… but that does not stop me from loving them endlessly and enjoying both endlessly. Arundhati Roy is the writer of my life.