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A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
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A Fine Balance (original 1995; edition 1996)

by Rohinton Mistry

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6,942188519 (4.38)1 / 637
Member:lilianboerboom
Title:A Fine Balance
Authors:Rohinton Mistry
Info:Emblem/Mcclelland & Stewart (2002), Paperback, 728 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry (Author) (1995)

  1. 60
    The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck (JudeyN)
    JudeyN: Set in a different time and place, but similar themes. Examines the different ways in which people respond to hardship and upheaval.
  2. 40
    A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini (TeeKay, Othemts)
  3. 40
    The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga (Nickelini)
    Nickelini: Both novels look at the dire side of life in India, and both are very well written.
  4. 52
    The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (mariamreza)
    mariamreza: Also leads the reader through an emotional roller coaster, experiencing the hope and despair of the characters from poor/ oppressed communities.
  5. 21
    Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (reenum)
  6. 10
    Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry (mcenroeucsb)
  7. 10
    The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Othemts)
  8. 32
    Roots by Alex Haley (mariamreza)
    mariamreza: Also leads the reader through an emotional roller coaster, experiencing the hope and despair of the characters from poor/ oppressed communities.
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    An Autobiography: the Story of My Experiments with Truth by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi (sruszala)
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    The Death of Vishnu by Manil Suri (Heaven-Ali)
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    A Far Country by Daniel Mason (KimarieBee)
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    Someone Knows My Name: A Novel by Lawrence Hill (LDVoorberg)
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    Q & A by Vikas Swarup (eugeniajune09)
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English (181)  Norwegian (2)  French (2)  German (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (187)
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
Book Description 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.

My Review This is a beautifully written book about life in India during the mid-70's. The characters are well-drawn so much so that you can feel a real connection to them. We get a picture of the awful way of life under Prime Minister Gandhi's The State of Emergency, the 3rd world economics, the political, social and religious conditions of the caste system and the strength it takes for the human spirit to endure. This book is a must read as it is a real piece of art that will stay with you long after you finish the last page. ( )
  EadieB | Jun 1, 2016 |
Review: A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.

I have read books with the setting in India but some have a two way version of the culture. This book opens the reader’s eyes to a more severe life of the homeless and lower class. The author has written in words plain and powerful circumstances of the lives of people trying to balance survival in the gutters of filth and among evil doers with no structure to hold onto. The story is well written, organized, and the unforgettable characters are degraded in many ways to follow the flow of what the author has in store for the reader. He will make you feel for his characters. Mistry writes about India in all its richness and dire poverty. The in-depth look at a culture and people of the lower class makes this story emotional and heartbreaking.

These people in India go through hunger, live in boxed shanties if they are that lucky, people with grimy faces and slimy bodies, missing limbs, tattered and dirty clothes, and places with government cruelty has no stopping point. In this story Mistry combines the lives of four heartfelt characters with different backgrounds into a bond that last a life time. Dina Dalal, a young widowed and determined person to make it as an independent woman in a world where women have little value takes on the care of three other companions.

She did work at home as a seamstress, sewing clothes as piece-work from a big manufacture company but her eyes were getting worse so she decided to hire two tailors to stitch for her and make a profit at the same time. It started out only as a solution to her problem of poverty. She went out looking for two tailors to come into her home during the day to stitch for her, that’s when she came across Ishyar Darki and his nephew Omprakash who were escaping the terror in their village and just moving to the city looking for work. Then she decided to take in a border named Maneck Kohlah, a student, sent by his parents from a mountain village to attend school in the city. This group of people became dependant on each other out of necessity. She had only a three room apartment but she managed by placing her border in her bedroom and putting her bed in the sewing room in the corner leaving room to set up the tailors sewing machines. This is just the essential basic framework of the story and how they met.

The story goes on drastically disturbing with other degenerated but heartwarming people and events. Mistry leaves nothing out; he doesn’t hold back any disturbing epilogue, dialogue, setting, horror, abuse, or crimes. He places the genuine words of events of poverty right down to the deaths on each and every page as a memorizing image of destruction on the streets of India that will linger in the readers mind for a very long time.

Even though the book was disturbing, Rohinton Mistry wrote about the homeless and low-class poverty stricken people in India with emphases of importance of what reality really balances for this culture and people…



( )
  Juan-banjo | May 31, 2016 |
If I could give this book more stars I would - for the complete devastation of it. It stays with me still. I don't think anything else I have ever read has pulled such raw emotion out of me. ( )
  BrydieWalkerBain | Apr 26, 2016 |
This is a powerful book that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking in turn. The reader follows different characters, watching them develop and getting glimpses into their pasts to see where they come from. You get to see what brings them together, see them grow and see how they learn to accept and care for each other, and then also witness less happy events, and some downright tragedies, and see them have to cope with those things in their lives that are seemingly out of their control.
  GretchenLynn | Apr 11, 2016 |
really enjoyed this book. Just insight into the social caste system within India. ( )
  anglophile65 | Mar 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 181 (next | show all)
Rohinton Mistry needs no infusions of magical realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his eyes, is quite magical enough.
 

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Mistry, RohintonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cowper, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danielsson, UllaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Echevarría, AuroraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Julià, PepTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mulder, ArjenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Post, MaaikeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pujol, RubénTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Holding this book in your hand, sinking back in your soft armchair, you will say to yourself: perhaps it will amuse me. And after you have read this story of great misfortunes, you will no doubt dine well, blaming the author for your own insensitivity, accusing him of wild exaggeration and flights of fancy. But rest assured: this tragedy is not a fiction. All is true."

Honore de Balzac, Le Pere Goriot
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For Freny
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The morning express bloated with passengers slowed to a crawl, then lurched forward suddenly, as though to resume full speed.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140003065X, Paperback)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:31 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A portrait of India featuring four characters. Two are tailors who are forcibly sterilized, one is a student who emigrates, and the fourth is a widowed seamstress who decides to hang on. A tale of cruelty, political thuggery and despair by an Indian from Toronto, author of Such a Long Journey.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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