A Fine Balance
About the Book
The time is 1975; the place is India, in an unnamed city by the sea. The corrupt and brutal government has just declared a State of Emergency, and the country is on the edge of chaos. In these precarious circumstances, four characters form an unlikely alliance: two tailors, uncle and nephew, who have come to the city in flight from the cruel caste violence in their native village; a middle-aged widow desperately trying to preserve her fragile independence; and a young student from the northern mountains, bewildered by the end of his idyllic childhood and his parents' slow collapse. Through the dramatic and often shocking turns their lives take, we get an intimate view not only of their world but of India itself, in all its extraordinary variety. Rohinton Mistry creates unforgettable characters and vast social panoramas on the scale of Dickens and Victor Hugo, and he shares, as well, their remarkable generosity of spirit.
"Those who continue to harp on the decline of the novel ought to . . . consider Rohinton Mistry," wrote the New York Times. "He needs no infusion of magic realism to vivify the real. The real world, through his eyes, is magical."