Tag Archives: india

#22 A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

6 Jun
A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

Goodreads rating: 4.31 (52,000+ ratings)

My rating: 9/10

Why it’s on the list: I received this book from my boss for my birthday this year, and she said it was one of her all time favourites.

First published: 1995 by McLelland & Stewart

Genre: Historical Fiction

Well, what a book. A Fine Balance is a beautiful story full of tragedy, hope, heartache, and desperation. Set in the 1970s in an unnamed place in India, A Fine Balance centres around a few key characters. Dina Delal – a widowed, mid-40s woman who lives on her own and manages some tailors in her home; Ishvar & Omprakesh – An uncle and nephew duo who work for Dina, and are working to save money to go back to their home village; and Maneck Kohlah – the son of a friend of Dina, who is at college and finds himself lodging in Dina’s home.

The whole book circles around these main characters, and about the trials and tribulations they face, from loss of loved ones, to dealing with The Emergency – a period of expanded government power and crackdowns on civil liberties. The book explores the childhoods and background of all these characters, as well as what brings them together.

The main thing that struck me about this book is that there is a lot of hope throughout the entire story. I felt hopeful for the futures of these characters, and without giving too much away, I found myself crying as I read the last chapter. I won’t say whether it was from happiness or sadness, but it was a very emotional story.

A Fine Balance is spectacularly written, and the environment is so well described that I felt like I was there, in the situations. I learnt a lot about 1970s India, and about the conditions that people lived in, and still do live in and deal with every day. It certainly made me feel grateful for what I have.

I can’t recommend this book enough, so if you haven’t read it – READ IT!

Notable quotes

“It was hard for them not to be resentful – the birth of daughters often brought them beatings from their husbands and their husband’s families.”

“Crossing the line of caste had to be punished with the utmost severity.”

“Independence came at a high price: a debt with a payment schedule of hurt and regret.” – Dina

Past reviews

“Few have caught the real sorrow and inexplicable strength of India, the unaccountable crookedness and sweetness, as well as Mistry.”
– Time

“A masterpiece of illumination and grace. Like all great fiction, it transforms our understanding of life.”
– The Guardian

If you’ve read this, I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts or reading your reviews so please share any links!

-H-

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Teaser Tuesday

7 May

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading.

Rules
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser

Book: I’ve just started A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, which was given to me for my birthday by my boss as it’s her favourite book ever. I’m currently up to page 58, and my teaser is from page 123.

But the stories kept multiplying: someone had been knifed in the bazaar in town; a sadhu hacked to death at the bus station; a settlement razed to the ground. The tension spread through the entire district.

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

-H-

WWW Wednesday

10 Apr

W…W…W…Wednesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should be Reading. 

TO PLAY ALONG, JUST ANSWER THE FOLLOWING THREE (3) QUESTIONS:

  1. What are you currently reading?
  2. What did you recently finish reading?
  3. What do you think you’ll read next?

_________________________________________________________________________________

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m reading A Clash of Kings by George R R Martin, the second book of A Song of Ice & Fire. So far I’m really enjoying it, although sometimes I get pretty confused – thank goodness for the details of the Houses at the end.

A Clash of Kings - George R R Martin

A Clash of Kings – George R R Martin

What did you recently finish reading? 

The last book I finished was Youth by J.M. Coetzee. You’ll find my review here

Youth - J.M. Coetzee

Youth – J.M. Coetzee

What do you think you’ll read next?

The next book on my list is A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, which was given to me by my boss for my birthday, and is her favourite book ever – always love a good recommendation so very much looking forward to reading it!

A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry

I would love to hear your thoughts on any of these books, although no spoilers please for the ones I haven’t read yet!

-H-

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