& occasionally about other things, too...

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance

On the second-last day of the year, I'm thinking of the most interesting book that I read in 2008.

Without any doubt it definitely is Rohinton Mistry's A Fine Balance. Published in the mid-1990s, the book is set in the Emergency era (1975-77), and has characters that stay etched in one's mind long after the last page of the book is read. 

It is tragedy on an epic scale -- Dickensian in its content and form. I recently read in the Globle and Mail that the book gets heavier and heavier with every page. 

The four characters -- Maneck, Dina Dalal, Ishvar and Om -- are puppets in author's hands. And he is the unrelenting God who is merciless in the treatment of his characters, often leaving his readers genuinely seeking respite. 

The misery that the characters experience lifts the novel to an altogether different level; a level that comes from a specific mastery over the art of story telling. 

Read the book if you haven't yet.

Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Crangle for lending me the book, and also Mistry's Family Matters

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