The Algebra of Infinite Justice

by Arundhati Roy. This book came highly recommended which is the only reason I picked it up after the fiasco with The God of Small Things. I’ve held the opinion that Roy is quite opportunistic for her role in the Narmada Bachao Andholan (Save the Narmada campaign) but I cannot recall the source of this opinion nor the reasons.

This book makes me want to go “Ohh myyy Gaaawd” like Janice from Friends. The foreword (by John Berger) claims that the book is well argued. Right. Not unless he thinks empty rhetoric and an illogical rant constitutes an argument. Here’s an excerpt from her first essay where she laments the fact that India has gone nuclear.

“Our cities and forests, our fields and villages will burn for days. Rivers will turn to poison. The air will become fire. The wind will spread the flames. When everything there is to burn has been burned and the fires die, the smoke will rise and shut out the sun. The earth will be enveloped in darkness. There will be no day. Only interminable night. Temperatures will drop to far below zero and nuclear winter will set in. Water will turn into toxic ice. Radioactive fallout will seep through the earth and contaminate ground water. Most living things, animal and vegetable, fish and fowl will die. Only rats and cockroaches will breed and multiply and compete with foraging, relict humans for what little food there is.”

Jeez. All I ask for is a little logic.


9 thoughts on “The Algebra of Infinite Justice”

  1. Try the piece written about the dam. Not for the logic but just an interesting way of describing things. I vaguely remember that it was stylish writing without making any sense.

  2. Roy can write. She’s not a debater.
    Thats the differentiation you need to make while reading her works.

    Her argumentation is full of misreps.

  3. Mdm. Roy is imaginative, you have to credit her with that.

    looks like she stole that piece from a Philip K Dick short story 😛

  4. Divs: The book claims to have real arguments which it doesnt. Her writing is gripping at times but just when she has got your attention it declines again.

    Ashwin: She is fairly imaginative. But I find her writing style irritating.

  5. Sushil: I guess Roy’s like one of those weird-tasting, grandly-named French Wines..its an acquired taste – Ha!
    Unless of course you loved her right from the start; like UT 😀

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