Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance is an extraordinary novel; one of those books I’m ashamed I haven’t read sooner, but at the same time, am so glad I’ve read at a point in my life when I can truly appreciate its magnificence. It is a timeless, masterful epic; without question, one of my favourite novels of all time, so brilliantly gripping, I couldn’t put it down until its heartbreaking final pages. I haven’t been haunted by a book like this since Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life; but I’d say the scope and architecture of A Fine Balance is even more impressive.
Mistry’s second novel is an impassioned indictment of India’s corrupt and horrifically cruel society during India’s “State of Internal Emergency” of the 1970s. Its four protagonists — Dina, in her forties, poor and widowed; her two tailors, Ishvar and his nephew Om (deemed ‘untouchable’ by the caste system); and Maneck, the son of an old School friend of Dina’s — are all victims of the times, whose sufferings are disparate, but equally devastating.
It’s so effortlessly Dickensian; virtuosically exploring grand themes with poised and measured grace. A Fine Balance is as close to perfection as a novel gets.
Format: Paperback / softback (198mm x 126mm x 37mm)
Imprint: Faber & Faber
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Publish Date: 14-Oct-2006
Country of Publication: United Kingdom