Mistry, Rohinton "Family Matters" - 2002
I only read one book by Rohinton Mistry so far: "A Fine Balance". We discussed it in our international book club and loved it so much that I definitely wanted to read more books by this author. I finally did and I wonder why it took me so long. Well, I don't really wonder, I know there are just too many books to read in too little time.
However, I made it and I'm happy about it. Another brilliant book about life in modern India but the problems that arise might occur in any country, family members get older and the rest of the family has to cope with their feebleness, their deterioration. Everyone reacts differently, some jump in to help, others try to push that task away from them as much as possible. Since both my parents passed away in the last two years and they both were of an old age and pretty sick towards the end, this book spoke to me even more. Not that we had any members in the family like Narim Vakeel who didn't want to chip in, it's just not always possible for everyone to do the same thing, even if they would like to.
Anyway, the author is brilliant, he manages not only to describe an international problem, the ageing of our parents, but he also involves everything that is specific to India. He described Mumbai so well, I could almost feel like being there, even though I have never been, I could hear the sounds and smell the smell, see the people going on with their lives.
This is certainly not going to be my last novel by Rohinton Mistry. He writes so well about this huge country that is so foreign to us Westerners and yet so close.
Rohinton Mistry was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for "Family Matters" in 2002.
From the back cover: "Nariman Vakeel, a seventy-nine-year-old Parsi widower, beset by Parkinson's disease and haunted by memories of the past, lives in a once-elegant apartment with his two middle-aged stepchildren. When his condition worsens he is forced to take up residence with Roxana, his own daughter, her husband, Yezad, and their two young sons. The effect of the new responsibility on Yezad, who is already besieged by financial worries, pushes him into a scheme of deception. This sets in motion a series of events - a great unravelling and a revelation of the family's love-torn past, that leads to the narrative's final outcome."