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Family Matters: 1 by Rohinton Mistry
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Family Matters: 1 (original 2002; edition 2006)

by Rohinton Mistry (Author)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,335454,630 (3.94)248
"The setting is Bombay, mid-1990s. Nariman Vakeel, suffering from Parkinson's disease, is the elderly patriarch of a small, discordant family. In a building called Chateau Felicity, he and his two middle-aged stepchildren - Coomy, bitter and domineering, and her just-younger brother, Jal, mild mannered and acquiescent - occupy a once-elegant apartment whose ruin is progressing as rapidly as Nariman's disease. Coomy has "rules to govern every aspect of [Nariman's] shrunken life," but even she cannot keep him from his evening walks. When he stumbles and breaks an ankle (fulfilling one of Coomy's nagging prophecies), she has hardly said "I told you so" before she is plotting to turn his round-the-clock care over to her younger, sweet-tempered half sister. Roxana, her husband, and their two sons live in an already overcrowded apartment, but Coomy knows that Roxana will not refuse her. What Coomy cannot know is that she has set in motion a great unraveling (and an unexpected repair) of the family - and a revelation of its deeply love-torn past."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved… (more)
Member:AJSleightholme
Title:Family Matters: 1
Authors:Rohinton Mistry (Author)
Info:Faber & Faber (2006), Edition: Main, 512 pages
Collections:Your library
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Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry (2002)

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» See also 248 mentions

English (42)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Danish (1)  All languages (45)
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
Some years ago I found myself collecting a rather appalling statistic. Women in India who are burned to death by their husbands, often in collusion with the mother of the husband. The preferred method is to douse the wife in petrol and then set alight. It generally does the trick, though unfortunately sometimes one ends up with a dreadfully disfigured wife who survives.

The real eye-opening thing about this practice is that it is a middle-class commonplace. The woman burned to death may well have a university degree or two. In other words, there is nothing primitive about the attitude. It isn't backward uneducated people, it is people who might be perusing goodreads when not taking stock of their petrol supplies.

Mistry's books do not deal with such horrors, but they do give an account of the ways in which middle-class urban life in India is mean and dispiriting and difficult. It sets the scene in which the wife-burnings take place.

If you want an idea of what life is really like in India, given that we all in the West think it's about Bollywood, this is good place to start.




( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Love, love, LOVED this book! It's a story of lives, of choices and how they lead us in different directions, of a families descent into sadness. It was beautiful, the kind of book that will stay with me for a long time, lingering in the back of my thoughts. ( )
  Wordbrarian | Mar 5, 2019 |
A captivating family story set in Mumbai, from India-born Canadian author Rohinton Mistry. It shares elements many families experience no matter where they are: a young man forbidden to marry a woman of a different religion; a step-sister who cares for no one but herself; a sick elderly father; low income. In this microcosm of society the stress of trying to deal with it all causes some of the characters to falter, yielding to temptation, repeating old prejudices. Beautifully written, this is a book to linger over. Highly recommended. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | May 24, 2018 |
'a novel in which the characters are so well drawn that you feel wrapped up in their problems rather than just privy to them', 31 Mar. 2012
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sally tarbox

This review is from: Family Matters: 1 (Paperback)
An outstanding novel set in a Zoroastrian family in Bombay. When elderly Nariman, suffering from Parkinson's disease and a broken ankle becomes too much to cope with, his stepchildren offload him onto their stepsister. Living in a tiny flat with two children, a somewhat grudging husband and little money, things become difficult and her husband hatches a convoluted plan to get a promotion and a payrise...
Meanwhile Nariman's stepdaughter is looking for a ploy to avoid having him back once his ankle mends...
A beautiful book that really just encapsulates life: exquisite moments, change, tragedy, things not working out as intended, humour and how experiences can alter a person. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
I've given up, I've been trying to start this for a long while and I just can't get excited about it. I'm bringing it back to MeetUp and perhaps someone else will enjoy it
  amyem58 | Jul 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
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A splash of light from the late-afternoon sun lingered at the foot of Nariman's bed as he ended his nap and looked towards the clock.
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"The setting is Bombay, mid-1990s. Nariman Vakeel, suffering from Parkinson's disease, is the elderly patriarch of a small, discordant family. In a building called Chateau Felicity, he and his two middle-aged stepchildren - Coomy, bitter and domineering, and her just-younger brother, Jal, mild mannered and acquiescent - occupy a once-elegant apartment whose ruin is progressing as rapidly as Nariman's disease. Coomy has "rules to govern every aspect of [Nariman's] shrunken life," but even she cannot keep him from his evening walks. When he stumbles and breaks an ankle (fulfilling one of Coomy's nagging prophecies), she has hardly said "I told you so" before she is plotting to turn his round-the-clock care over to her younger, sweet-tempered half sister. Roxana, her husband, and their two sons live in an already overcrowded apartment, but Coomy knows that Roxana will not refuse her. What Coomy cannot know is that she has set in motion a great unraveling (and an unexpected repair) of the family - and a revelation of its deeply love-torn past."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Nariman Vakeel is an aging patriarch whose advancing Parkinson's disease and it's related complications threaten to destroy his large Parsi family.
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