Just finished reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry. Set in 1970’s India during a time of horrific political and civil turmoil, the novel explores the relationship between four characters of great differing backgrounds (geographically, culturally and economically). The title of the book comes from an idea discussed by two passengers on a train, that the key to life is balancing hope with despair no matter how awful one’s situation. It’s a beautiful idea, especially when illustrated by the heartbreaking tragedies and injustices of the characters’ lives and their continued labours to improve their lives.
A captivating but shattering read.
I just finished Mistry’s Swimming Lessons, a collection of short stories all focused all people who live in a Parsi compound in 1970s Bombay. It was also fascinating, but not at all heartbreaking. I enjoyed it.
But what I’m loving right now is a book I just started reading, The Hakawati, by Rabih Alameddine. I think I’m going to have a very, very hard time putting this down. I’ll tell you more about it when I finish it.
I hope you’re enjoying your summer!
I think the tailors are two of the most beautifully drawn characters ever – it is, however, devastating. Which I think is what life in India at the time was all about…they are hopeful, in a funny way, which I had to be reminded of by Peter who had read it before me, and often.
Ooo. What’s next?
Chrisina – I shall find both the short stories and Alameddine’s book in the future. I’d like to say by the end of the summer but my reading list is a metre long now! Need to get into the habit of reading during termtime. Always so tired though…
Lucy – I had trouble seeing the hope at first. My friend Gordon had to point it out to me as I was just so devastated when I’d first finished it.
Next are the Steig Larsson books recommended by your mum! A quarter through the first one and thoroughly enjoying being immersed in a very clever but thankfully unrealistic who-done-it/what-did-he-even-do after the trauma that was “A Fine Balance”.
people can take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks