With a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the. The questions, discussion topics, and suggested reading list that follow are intended to enhance your groups experience of reading rohinton mistrys a fine balance. The questions, discussion topics, and suggested reading list. A fine balance is an extraordinary book, rohinton mistrys story of four people who cling to each other while their worlds fall apart a richly detailed, painful, but beautiful description of how life goes on in the hardest circumstances. A fine balance 1995 by rohinton mistry princeton writes. The image of the children on the pole immediately comes to mind. I wonder if any school systems are using this for a novel study in high school english.
It won the giller prize in 1995 and was shortlisted for the booker prize in 1996. The writing is excellent and the storytelling is perfect. A fine balance by rohinton mistry what am i reading. A fine balance v a fine balance displays a compassionate realism and narrative sweep that recall the work of charles dickens. Fine balance by sudha bhuchar, kristine landonsmith. A fine balance is a book that will stay in my memory forever.
Unlike his earlier novels, mistrys family matters 2002 eschews the blend of political and personal life that characterizes journey and balance, instead examining the effect of aging and illness on an indian family. Dina hires ishvar and om for piecework, and is happy to let maneck stay with her. You have to maintain a fine balance between hope and despair. Hello everyone, im posting this blog to tell you that i have read about a quarter of the book a fine balance already. I loaned out my first copy and never got it back so i have gotten a second copy and am reading the book again. A fine balance is well written and achingly evocative of the period, the second half of the twentieth century in india. Maneck, devastated by the murder of an activist classmate, goes abroad. The phrase a fine balance reminds me of a fine line where there is barely a thread between one extreme and the other. Depressing yet engrossing, the story follows the criss crossing lives of four characters in post partition india. The narrative structure for the first half is awkward and unsatisfying. Rohinton mistry was born in bombay and now lives near toronto.
The selection of a fine balance for oprahs book club in 2001 changed the nature of mistrys career, as it has for many authors. A fine balance is rohinton mistrys eagerly awaited second novel and. Set in india in the mid1970s, a fine balance is a richly textured novel. Maneck did not understand what they meant, till ishvar explained outside. Available on kindle ebook and can be read on any device with the free kindle app. In these precarious circumstances, four characters form an.
A fine balance by rohinton mistry academic destressor. What effect is achieved by the novels mildly comic ending, with om and ishvar clowning around at dinas door. Mistry describes the hardships of poverty in india and the prejudice and inequities of the caste system with brutal grit. Mistry is also the author of swimming lessons, a collection of short stories. Centered around the flat of dina dalal, inhabited by two tailors and a student with a larger circle on the periphery, the novel charts the fine balances the people of india sought to maintain through the emergency rule of indira gandhibalances of both physical. A fine balance by rohinton mistry discussion guide. Why has mistry chosen not to name the prime minister or the city by the sea, when they are easily identifiable. However in this post ive decided to only summarize a portion of the first chapter which is called city by the sea. Times book award for fiction, the commonwealth writers prize, canadas prestigious giller prize and was a 1996 booker prize finalist.
Naive college student maneck kohlah, whose parents general store is failing, rents a room in the house of dina dalal, a 40ish widowed seamstress. If you fill it with laughter there will be no room for crying. Other readers will always be interested in your opinion of the books youve read. Ashrafvishram maulik thakkar nusswan bala murali shingade. Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances and their fates become inextricably linked in. A fine balance culture vultures lonely planet forum.
A fine balance by rohinton mistry announced november 30, 2001 discussion questions 1. Dina, from a traditionally wealthy parsi family, maintains tenuous. A fine balance, rohinton mistrys stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid1970s india. A fine balance by rohinton mistry a fine balance is well written and achingly evocative of the period, the second half of the twentieth century in india. Set on the backdrop of the emergency in 1970, rohinton mistrys novel, a fine balance is a tale of our prejudiced caste system, a corrupt and cruel society, of grief and despair, and a single womans struggle for existence. Originally rustoms family flat but inherited by dina after his death, this is where dina and maneck live, and. A fine balance npr coverage of a fine balance by rohinton mistry. A fine balance is the second novel by rohinton mistry. His first novel, such a long journey, was shortlisted for the booker prize and received, among other awards, the governor generals award and the commonwealth writers prize for best book of the year. But these are not the reasons i love the book so much. This book was written in 1995 and deals with the emergency that india faced in 1984 under the prime minister ship of indira gandhi.
His third book, a fine balance, defies easy categorization. First published by mcclelland and stewart in 1995, it won the 1995 giller prize. Set in an unidentified city in india, initially in 1975 and later in 1984 during the turmoil of the emergency, the book concerns four characters from varied backgrounds dina dalal, ishvar darji, his nephew omprakash darji and the young student maneck kohlah who come together and develop a bond. Born in bombay in 1952, rohinton mistry grew up in india and. His new novel, family matters, will be released by knopf in 2002. The novel gives us a vivid picture of life for members of the untouchable caste in remote villages. Those who continue to harp on the inevitable decline of the novel ought to hold off for a while.
Set in mid1970s india, a fine balance is a subtle and. Ultimately, a fine balance is struck and freedom gained in oppression. Mistrys prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. I have one copy on my bookcase at home but am yet to get round to it. Sometimes you have to use your failures as steppingstones to success. To make ends meet, dina takes in a paying boarder, maneck kohlah, the son of. The author uses so many literary devices, its hard to. You see, we cannot draw lines and compartments and refuse to budge beyond them. This is the guy whose hand is seen in the cover of the book, balancing a little girl atop a pole. A fine balance is the story of four people who meet, live and work in a.
A fine balance is, in many ways, a total mess of a novel. Uncles and aunts had been invited to dinner, and someone said, well, nusswan, you will soon be studying to become a doctor, just like your father. Written with compassion, humor, and insight, a fine balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time. Supersummary, a modern alternative to sparknotes and cliffsnotes, offers highquality study guides for challenging works of literature. Whether youve loved the book or not, if you give your honest and detailed thoughts then people will find new books that are right for them. A fine balance is rohinton mistrys eagerly awaited second novel and follows his critically acclaimed such a long journey, the book that won three prestigious literary awards in 1991. I have rarely cared so much about characters in novels. A fine balance by rohinton mistry book club discussion. Read free book excerpt from a fine balance by rohinton mistry, page 3 of 4. 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. Postindependence india has seen much religious and ethnic violence. A fine balance is written by rohintonmistry, an indian born canadian writer.
Dina dalal seldom indulged in looking back at her life with regret or bitterness, or questioning why things had turned out the way they had, cheating her of the bright future everyone had predicted for her when she was in school, when her name was still dina shroff. The government has just declared a state of emergency, in. Is nusswan presented entirely as a villain, or does he have redeeming. The turning point in the fatherandson relationship had come seven years ago, on nusswan s sixteenth birthday. Tailors, ishvar darji and his nephew omprakash leave their village to escape poverty and seek their fortune in the city, hoping to return rich and successful and rescue their family from crushing poverty and prejudice.
A fine balance by rohinton mistry my enjoyment of this brilliant, thronging novel was enriched by reading it in india, and it in. Is nusswan presented entirely as a villain, or does he have redeeming features. This 43page guide for a fine balance by rohinton mistry includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 16 chapters, as well as several more indepth sections of expertwritten literary analysis. The emergency was an extraordinary time in indias history. While already respected, he had now earned a recognition with a new readership in the hundreds of thousandsa readership that was by and large unlikely to pick up a sprawling book. This study guide consists of approximately 86 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of a fine balance. We hope they will provide many interesting angles from which to approach this sweeping and magnificent novel by one of the most powerful of contemporary writers. Learn more about a fine balance, an oprahs book club selection.
This magnificent novel captures all the cruelty and corruption, dignity and heroism, of india. This is quite a long chapter, and a very informative chapter at that the reason why i am only summarizing the first half of it. Moreover, although most of the events in the novel take place in the mid1970s. The growth of dina as a character of tolerance and compassion is central to my appreciation of this outstanding book. A fine balance by rohinton mistry about the book the time is 1975.326 99 181 1193 373 176 805 500 1448 941 130 250 1262 122 1108 633 555 295 1196 767 1013 549 1015 1191 911 388 1 186 199 1412 974 915