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Family Mattersby Rohinton Mistry
Synopses & Reviews
Family Matters is Rohinton Mistry’s eagerly anticipated third novel, following the success of his highly acclaimed A Fine Balance (1995), which won several major literary awards internationally.
This new novel takes us to Bombay in the mid-1990s. Nariman Vakeel is a seventy-nine-year-old Parsi widower and the patriarch of a small discordant family. Beset by Parkinson’s disease and haunted by memories of the past, he lives in a once-elegant apartment with his two middle-aged stepchildren – Coomy, bitter and domineering, and her brother, Jal, mild-mannered and acquiescent. When Nariman’s illness is compounded by a broken ankle, Coomy plots to turn his round-the-clock care over to Roxana, his sweet-tempered sister. She succeeds, but not without cost, and eventually Nariman takes up residence with Roxana, her husband, Yezad, and their two young sons. The effect of the new responsibility on Yezad, who is already besieged by financial worries, pushes him into a scheme of deception involving Vikram Kapur, his eccentric, often exasperating employer at Bombay Sporting Goods Emporium. This sets in motion a series of events – a great unravelling and a revelation of the family’s love-torn past – that leads to the narrative’s final outcome.
In this wise and compassionate novel, Mistry has once again created a beautifully realized world. As his unforgettable characters confront situations over which they have no control, their tragedies and their triumphs ultimately become our own.
Family Matters has all the richness, the gentle humour, and the narrative sweep that have earned Rohinton Mistry the highest of accolades around the world. It is a stunning achievement from one of the finest writers of our time.
"Once again, Rohinton Mistry has written an absolutely fabulous novel." Noah Richler, National Post
"He ought to be considered simply one of the best writers, Indian or otherwise, now alive." Atlantic Monthly
"Warm, humane, tender and bittersweet....This beautifully paced, elegantly expressed novel is notable for the breadth of its vision as well as its immensely appealing characters and enticing plot." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Heart-breaking and utterly beguiling." The Herald (U.K.)
"Compelling and rich." Globe and Mail
"Mistry remains one of our most important writers — one of our most important moral voices." Quill & Quire
Set in Bombay in the mid-1990s, Family Matters tells a story of familial love and obligation, of personal and political corruption, of the demands of tradition and the possibilities for compassion. Nariman Vakeel, the patriarch of a small discordant family, is beset by Parkinson’s and haunted by memories of his past. He lives with his two middle-aged stepchildren, Coomy, bitter and domineering, and her brother, Jal, mild-mannered and acquiescent. But the burden of the illness worsens the already strained family relationships. Soon, their sweet-tempered half-sister, Roxana, is forced to assume sole responsibility for her bedridden father. And Roxana’s husband, besieged by financial worries, devises a scheme of deception involving his eccentric employer at a sporting goods store, setting in motion a series of events that leads to the narrative’s moving outcome. Family Matters has all the richness, the gentle humour, and the narrative sweep that have earned Mistry the highest of accolades around the world.
About the Author
Rohinton Mistry is the author of a collection of short stories, Tales from Firozsha Baag (1987), and three internationally acclaimed novels, Such a Long Journey (1991), A Fine Balance (1995), and Family Matters (2002). His fiction has won many prestigious international awards, including The Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, the Governor General’s Award, the Canada-Australia Literary Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Fiction, The Royal Society of Literature’s Winifred Holtby Award, and the Kiriyama Pacific Rim Book Prize for Fiction. A Fine Balance was also an Oprah’s Book Club® selection.
Born in Bombay in 1952, Rohinton Mistry came to Canada in 1975.
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