Mistry, Rohinton "A Fine Balance" - 1995
"A novel set in India during the Emergency. In the tiny flat of the widowed Dina Dalal, two tailors and a young student struggle to put together a new life of sorts amid the crisis, and in the course of doing so encounter a vivid cast of characters."
This book is absolutely wonderful. The ending is shocking but not entirely unexpected and any other ending would have been too fictional, too much trying to find paradise on earth. Like you find so often in books, the endings seem to be "out of this world".
The description of the people and their actions is so vivid, you actually have the feeling you know these people, you live there with them. You are afraid for them, what's going to happen next. Beautiful writing.
From the back cover:
"'A Fine Balance', Rohinton Mistry’s stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid-1970s India. It tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a 'State of Internal Emergency.' Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Mistry’s prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. Written with compassion, humour, and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time. "
Rohinton Mistry was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for "A Fine Balance" in 1996.
We discussed this in our book club in June 2002.