Saturday, June 24, 2017

A Fine Balance- a review of the novel by Rohinton Mistry

A Fine BalanceA Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

It is sometimes a bit daunting to become involved in such a fat book with such small print when it describes a culture with which you are relatively unfamiliar. I'm so glad I did, despite a slow engagement.
Histories are often written from the point of view of the broom while literature often gives insights from the dust being swept aside. Most of us are as dust, but there can be dignity and life in that, and this is a story of dignity in simplicity and of the possible joy in a moment when even the most ordinary securities of society are being swept from beneath your feet.
Mistry has crafted a huge tale from meagre lives without being overly romantic or sentimental, indeed he is sometimes grim and brutal, tearing at the minor triumphs of the individuals we are reading about, and leaving us feeling bereft.
The book demonstrates how it can be that resilience is not dependent upon privilege, and that acceptance can out-manouver expectation as a tool for survival.

View all my reviews

A Fine Balance on Goodreads

 4.34  ·  Rating Details ·  103,463 Ratings  ·  7,142 Reviews
With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of Charles Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India.

The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers--a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village--will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

As the characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

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