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.
The Boston Review
...A penchant for heavy-handed sentimentality, though, eventually overwhelms the attempt at tragedy, while social insight gives way a predictable survey of the evils threatening India. A Fine Balance is finally neither poignant nor pointed enough to fulfill Mistry's ambitions or the reader's expectations.
Time - Pico Iyer
Monumental. . . . Few have caught the real sorrow and inexplicable strength of India, the unaccountable crookedness and sweetness, as well as Mistry.
The New York Times Book Review, A.G. Mojtabai
... Mistry needs no infusions of magical realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his eyes, is quite magical enough.
The New York Times
Those who continue to harp on the decline of the novel . . . ought to consider Rohinton Mistry. He needs no infusion of magic realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his eyes, is magical.
New York Review of Books
A serious and important work . . . the product of high intelligence and passionate conviction.
Wall Street Journal
Astonishing. . . . A rich and varied spectacle, full of wisdom and laughter and the touches of the unexpectedly familiar through which literature illuminates life.
Mistry combines an openness to India's infinite sensory detail with a Dickensian rendering of the effects of poverty, caste, envy, superstition, corruption and bigotry. His vast, wonderfully precise canvas poses, but cannot answer, the riddle of how to transform a corrupt, ailing society into a healthy one.
Library Journal - Janet Ingraham
Even more affecting than Mistry's depictions of squalor and grotesque injustice is his study of friendships emerging unexpectedly, naturally. The novel's coda is cruel and heart-wrenching but deeply honest. This unforgettable book...is highly recommended.
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.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by Barbara, The Club's Book Groups Yes, it is a great read! The tragedy, the sorrow, the loss, is almost too much for me to recommend this; on the other hand Mistry made me believe I knew these characters. I believe I would know them on the street if I were to go to India today. It is true, as others have... Read More
Rated of 5
by Paula Ashby A Fine Balance An outstanding story set in India that truly tells it like it is. It is like Shantaram without the Westerners. No gloss added - just pure reality as anyone who has been to India will know. Book of the year for me.
Rated of 5
Our book group chose this for our February discussion. I could not put it down! In fact, I also borrowed the unabridged audio version so I could do my household chores and listen at the same time! Rohinton Mistry is truly gifted in his... Read More
Rated of 5
After reading this book, I feel in love with Rohinton Mistry's books. I have read every book that he has published and loved them all. this book was... Well there are no words to say how great this book was.
Rated of 5
It's an amazing book! One of the best I have ever read!
Rated of 5
One of the best book telling the real story of Humans...
On the night of December 3, 1984, Anjali waits for her husband to pick her up at the train station in Bhopal, India. In an instant, her world changes forever. Her anger at his being late turns to horror when a catastrophic gas leak poisons the city air. Anjali miraculously survives. Her marriage does not.
Profane, piercingly honest, and scathingly funny, Animal's People is the stunning tale of an unforgettable character: Animal, a young man whose back was twisted beyond repair in an industrial accident. It is a dark world, shot through with flashes of joy and lunacy.
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