No doubt you know how brilliant an author Arundhati Roy is.
In this collection of interviews, The Chequebook and the Cruise-Missile, we find her in another role. One which she achieves with the same ease and skill as she does a literary genius - political essayist. If you haven't read 'The Pandemic is a Portal' essay that she wrote earlier this year, I highly recommend seeking it out. It's incredibly written. Imagine a political essayist who writes these terse, dry, difficult subjects with the same beauty as she does her beloved novels. It's her. It's so good, I have to share this excerpt:
'Who can think of kissing a stranger, jumping on to a bus or sending their child to school without feeling real fear? Who can think of ordinary pleasure and not assess its risk?... And even while the virus proliferates, who could not be thrilled by the swell of birdsong in cities, peacocks dancing at traffic crossings and the silence in the skies?... unlike the flow of capital, this virus seeks proliferation, not profit, and has, therefore, inadvertently, to some extent, reversed the direction of the flow. It has mocked immigration controls, biometrics, digital surveillance and every other kind of data analytics, and struck hardest — thus far — in the richest, most powerful nations of the world, bringing the engine of capitalism to a juddering halt. Temporarily perhaps, but at least long enough for us to examine its parts, make an assessment and decide whether we want to help fix it, or look for a better engine.'
Although The Chequebook and the Cruise-Missile was written some time ago, it remains relevant. In them Roy addresses globalisation, over capitalisation of liberal economies and critiques the US as a troubling stronghold of power politics. If you didn't know it before, you will find out that Roy is as brilliant a political thinker as she is a writer of fiction.
And if you're not into political think pieces, you could always enjoy her incredible follow up to The God of Small Things, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness; published in 2017, 20 years after her debut.