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.
I hate you Mistry
By windriver12 - May 10, 2002
I walked by the homeless in the streets while growing up in a city by the sea not unlike the one in this book. I was repulsed by their grimy faces, their missing limbs, their tattered and dirty clothes. Fearful I might catch their poor people diseases if I ventured too close, I would cross the street to avoid them. Sometimes throwing coins into their tin cups from a sterile distance-sometimes missing, and walking away praising my own charity.Thank you Mr. Mistry for showing me the other side of the story. Thank you for putting into plain and powerful words exactly how unfair life in India is to the poor and lower castes. You have taught me more than any text book could about the injustices that daily occur in India. I hate you for your brutal honesty and for making me feel this way. Or perhaps, like you prophesized in the begining of this book, I am only blaming you for my own insensitivity. For those of you considering reading this book, here is my warning. Mistry will seduce... read more
By Lesley West - December 12, 2001
It was with some trepidation that I read this book, as I have frequently found Indian novels to be very heavy going and full of doom and gloom, but it was recommended by someone with very good taste, and I thought I'd take the plunge. I am very glad I did - it is the finest novel of the Indian sub-continent that I have encountered.The lives of the main characters are certainly not easy, so I guess I must confess that there is a fair share of the aforementioned doom and gloom. But our heroes are so well drawn, so fully rounded and so full of adventure and thirst for whatever life throws at them (and it throws plenty), that you get completely sucked into the complexities of their existences.Rohinton Mistry is a fine, talented writer. The prose flows easily, and India in all of its richness and dire poverty is there before you. It is quite an experience, not always a comfortable one, sometimes very entertaining, and all in all one I thoroughly recommend.
By "sylsbooks" - January 9, 2002
India, a country I knew little about, haunts me since reading this book. The author captures on paper the feeling of India on every page. The sounds, the smells and the people stay with me well after the last page was turned. Unforgettable characters that evoke every type of emotion! Rohinton Mistry meshes the lives of four people of diverse backgrounds into a bond that lasts a lifetime. The in-depth look at a culture and a people that I knew little about has brought about an understanding that I previously lacked. Dina Dalal, widowed and determined to make it as an independent woman in a world where women have little value, becomes the unwilling glue that supports 3 other lives. Maneck Kohlah is a student, sent by his parents from his mountain village to attend school in the city. Ishvar Darji and his nephew Omprakash are tailors escaping the terror in their village by moving to the city to look for work. This unlikely group of people become dependent on each other... read more
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