June 29, 2018

Looking Back - A Fine Balance

Looking Back... In an effort to transfer my book journal entries over to this blog, I'm going to attempt to post (in chronological order) an entry every Friday. I may or may not add extra commentary to what I jotted down in these journals.

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry
1995 Vintage
Finished in November 1997
Rating: 5/5 (Excellent!)

Publisher's Blurb:

With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall masters from Balzac to Dickens, this magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of India. The time is 1975. The place is an unnamed city by the sea. The government has just declared a State of Emergency, in whose upheavals four strangers--a spirited widow, a young student uprooted from his idyllic hill station, and two tailors who have fled the caste violence of their native village--will be thrust together, forced to share one cramped apartment and an uncertain future.

As Rohinton Mistry's characters move from distrust to friendship and from friendship to love, A Fine Balance creates an enduring panorama of the human spirit in an inhuman state.

My Original Notes (1997):

Great novel, although pretty long. (603 pages)

Wonderfully descriptive. Harsh realities of life during this time period. I learned a lot about India and the caste system.

I highly recommend this book!

My Current Thoughts:

When I was working at Barnes & Noble, this is one of those books that would often come up in conversation with customers when asked about some of my favorite books. I remember how much I loved losing myself in Mistry's marvelous novel, not wanting it to end, in spite of its length. I can still recall several scenes from the story, but most of the details are long forgotten. I've moved this book from Nebraska to Texas, back to Nebraska and now to Oregon, with hopes of reading it a second time. Will it still have the same magic? With so many unread books on my shelves, not to mention the investment in time to re-read it, it seems doubtful. Maybe I'll get it on Audible.com and give it a listen instead, but I'm not ready to get rid of my copy. Maybe I can suggest it to my book club.


  1. I also loved this book and still have my copy. It's rippled from moisture and probably has a few grains of sand in it, too. Read it on the beach in Captiva over a February school break when the girls were young. An audio reread sounds like a good idea!

    1. JoAnn, I read a couple of pages and was immediately pulled back into the story. I need to set aside a month to reread some of my favorites!


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