A Fine Balance Author:Rohinton Mistry 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 wi... more »dow, 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.« less
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I have to say, even as brutal as this book is it rarely leaves my mind. It is an amzing look at life in India and makes me so grateful for where I was born. It is a very descriptive and huanting story. One of the top 10 books I've read
This book was very well written and extremely powerful. It was also very depressing and sad. It was about a time in India that I knew very little about. The characters and descriptions came to life for me and I was unable to forget them long after I finished the book. If you are looking for a "feel good" book with a happy ending look elsewhere. Our book club read this last year and we all agreed that it was an awesome book but certainly not "fun". It had an impact on us all.
Writing is clear, story flows well, carefully crafted dialog gives reader a wonderfully nuanced view of personal relationships between Indians from very different caste backgrounds. Mistry's prose certainly gives a sense of India as a struggling developing nation with lots of historical baggage. This vivid narrative transports us and we have an initial sense of wonder.
Mistry begins an intriguing story; however, for me the story drags, and then flounders under 600 plus pages. My general lack of interest in the characters fate made it hard to pull through the larger story. Oprah books seem to like the dark, struggling to overcome adversity themes which work best if you're invested in the main characters. A classic India story in the making.
Unlike Oprah, "A Fine Balance" did not strike the fine balance where I would generally recommend it for most readers. I would mainly recommend this story for the more patient reader of character driven novels, or someone with a clear interest in India, or in class division.
Was not expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did...the cover information didn't make it sound that great, but read it because it is on the Oprah list. Was glad I did...opened my eyes to the things that go on in third world countries.
Author's lyrical writing style, beautiful phrasing creates rich human characters. Lots of characters to get to know, so get a list from Wikipedia or similar and tick each off as he or she is introduced. Then, listen to each tell her / his story. It / they all come together in a cycle of storytelling. No wasted characters, no wasted storylines. A hit with my book discussion group, though some found some of the situations gut-wrenching, disturbing.
I enjoyed how Mistry goes back into time to depict each character's life...and directs each individual's path to meet up with the other characters of the story. True, this is not the typical "uplifting" book, but there are some very good values he expounds upon; sometimes, life throws these twists and turns into one's life and he shows how one can deal with it. There are thrilling moments, and then the more detailed passages that needs some attention in order to put it all together. Very well written.
I enjoyed this very much.
I like books like Michenor's Alaska & Hawaii, Memoirs of a Geisha, etc - novels that are interesting and also give me a window into other cultures. This book falls into that category.