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A digital experience for a printed book

30 August 2017

It’s no surprise that Booker Prize winner Arundhati Roy’s second novel in 20 years, ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’ is a runaway success. The book has been reviewed extensively and is now even in the longlist for this year’s Booker Prize. What’s surprising, however, how the book has inspired other artists in other mediums. Recently, artist Lisa Rath and her team at Itu Chaudhuri Design (ICD) launched ‘Re:Reader’, a digital experience inspired by ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’, at ICD Studio in Delhi, in the presence of Arundhati Roy.

final-share-image Re:Reader, a digital experience inspired by 'The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’

The Re:Reader has been conceived to engage in the way a book reading might, without physically being present. It was created with the intent to engage with an increasing number of people who interact mostly on their mobile phones, in a style that is relevant and contemporary.

This experience may act as a catalyst to read the book, and for those who have read it to add an experiential layer to it. Eventually, it is about the joy and the quality of an alternate experience of ‘The Ministry of Utmost Happiness’, a way to fall in love and be willingly led, click-by-click, into its world.

Roy said, “I'd call it Utmost Perennial. It’s a new, fun way of introducing a book to people who haven’t read it. And another way of enjoying it for people who have. And it’ll be out there—everywhere— without an expiry date. Really lovely.”

Re:Reader has snippets of text from the XII chapters of the book. Animations show the text in a new light; music brings the period to life, and with portions read by Arundhati Roy, it makes for a dreamy, heady ride. But none of these bits of ‘media’ are presented as ‘content’ for independent consumption. They are there to tempt, to intrigue, to transport the viewer to the Utmost world, not to reveal or substantially replace it.  A perfect fit for the author’s voice.

Each user will have a different engagement pattern which makes each person’s experience of the book, its mood and its narration, unique.

The Re:Reader can be accessed at www.theministryofutmosthappiness.com.

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