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A Fine Balanceby Rohinton Mistry
For a while it seemed that novels set in India were all the rage. My favorite is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. His massive tome ranges across the vast chasms of that giant subcontinent, all from the cramped apartment of Dina Dalal. Through her eyes, along with those of her two impoverished tailors and her bright if unambitious nephew, we are provided a glimpse into every corner of Indian society. Mistry describes the absurdities and petty prejudices held by many Indians in a way that would make Flannery O'Connor or Carson McCullers proud.
Synopses & Reviews
With the compassionate realism of Dickens and a narrative sweep worthy of Balzac, this internationally acclaimed novel draws an unforgettable portrait of the cruelty and corruption, kindness and heroism of India. Set in 1975, A Fine Balance follows the destinies of four strangers who are forced to share a cramped apartment in an unnamed city by the sea.
"From the Toronto-based Mistry (Such a Long Journey, 1991), a splendid tale of contemporary India that, in chronicling the sufferings of outcasts and innocents trying to survive in the 'State of Internal Emergency' of the 1970s, grapples with the great question of how to live in the face of death and despair. Though Mistry is too fine a writer to indulge in polemics, this second novel is also a quietly passionate indictment of a corrupt and ineluctably cruel society. India under Indira Gandhi has become a country ruled by thugs who maim and kill for money and power....A sweeping story, in a thoroughly Indian setting, that combines Dickens's vivid sympathy for the poor with Solzhenitsyn's controlled outrage, celebrating both the resilience of the human spirit and the searing heartbreak of failed dreams." Kirkus Reviews
About the Author
Rohinton Mistry was born in Bombay and now lives near Toronto. His first novel, Such a Long Journey, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and received, among other awards, the Governor General's Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book of the Year. A Fine Balance is his second novel, winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Fiction, the Giller Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize as well as a Booker Prize finalist. Mistry is also the author of Swimming Lessons, a collection of short stories.
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