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Such a Long Journey

3.95  ·  Rating Details  ·  7,076 Ratings  ·  336 Reviews
It is Bombay in 1971, the year India went to war over what was to become Bangladesh. A hard-working bank clerk, Gustad Noble is a devoted family man who gradually sees his modest life unravelling. His young daughter falls ill; his promising son defies his father’s ambitions for him. He is the one reasonable voice amidst the ongoing dramas of his neighbours. One day, he rec ...more
Hardcover, 408 pages
Published April 18th 2006 by McClelland & Stewart (first published 1991)
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Terry Dowd I agree that A Fine Balance is one of the best books I have ever read. Heartbreaking. I also liked Family Matters. Looking forward to reading Such a…moreI agree that A Fine Balance is one of the best books I have ever read. Heartbreaking. I also liked Family Matters. Looking forward to reading Such a Long Journey.(less)
The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best South Asian Fiction
26th out of 496 books — 1,539 voters
The God of Small Things by Arundhati RoyA Fine Balance by Rohinton MistryThe White Tiger by Aravind AdigaMidnight's Children by Salman RushdieThe Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Best Indian Books
64th out of 646 books — 2,004 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
Feb 22, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing
P Bryant: Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for Goodreads.

Rohinton Mistry : My pleasure. It's such a nice website.

PB: Yes. Regarding Such a Long Journey, your first novel, must say that I found it almost unbearably moving.

RM : Why thank you. Many people have said similar things.

PB : In fact (tears begin to stream) when I think…

RM : Have a tissue -

PB : When I think -

RM : Have another tissue -

PB : When I think..

RM : Yes?

PB : of the fate of Gustad Noble and his family.. (breaks down complete

This book is suffused in such melancholy that I'm still unable to shake off the feeling.
In Paradise Lost, Milton described Hell as a place without hope- such is Bombay, India in 1971-- overflowing gutters, mounds of fetid garbage, dirt & despair everywhere- a state of general apathy which is only symptomatic of the deep rot within- emanating from the power centre in Delhi; from the very top.

One could live with chronic water shortage, load shedding, adulterated milk (still same same!), but ho
I really enjoyed this book. It is a touching story of an Indian family in the early seventies, a turbulent time in India's history. Mistry managed to create a colourful and rich setting and his characters are well believable, imperfect and therefore very human.
I gave it four stars because it did not drag me into the story like his other novel A Fine Balance did. I still felt I was kept at a comfortable distance where in AFB I, as a reader, felt I was being made a part of the misery and happines
Apr 05, 2016 notgettingenough rated it really liked it
Shelves: indian

Update April 2016: I noticed, in connection with the banning of Naipaul's An Area of Darkness in India, that the University of Mumbai banned this book with alacrity upon the threat of violence from a rightwing political group looking for attention. All over the world free speech is being eroded in universities, ironically from both the left side of the divide and the right. It is something both sides apparently agree upon, that people should only be allowed to say what their side wants to hear.
Jan Rice
Apr 09, 2016 Jan Rice rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How I came to read Such a Long Journey: I first encountered Rohinton Mistry via his book A Fine Balance, which would fit my "bibliotrauma" category. A Fine Balance is one of my favorite books but I didn't think I could stand another one like it. Eventually a friend reassured me this one was not like that. Then I snagged the paperback from the Daedalus catalog, and into my stack it went--where it lingered. Next I read an allusion that was somehow related (I can't remember any details now) to Bang ...more
May 16, 2010 Phil rated it liked it
I have the name Rohinton Mistry etched on my brain for he is the author of my favourite book of all time – A Fine Balance.
This is a story that is again set in Mumbai, India, and is focused on a small community and in particular Gustad, his wife and their three children. It is brilliantly written in what I would call trademark Mistry language (having now read a whole two of his books!) – compelling and intricate with great character descriptions.
The reason I have given this book 3 stars and not
Jennifer (aka EM)
Jan 25, 2014 Jennifer (aka EM) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014-b-list
A better understanding of the political events occurring in the background would have enriched my reading of this, but even without, Mistry was able to catch and hold my attention, weaving layers of story and symbolism together, creating a sometimes farcical, bittersweet domestic tale. I felt like I got to know this group of middle-class Indians and their microcosm of that larger world a little bit better. I certainly got to smell it - from frangipani and sandalwood to rotting garbage and sewage ...more
Mar 20, 2009 Judy rated it really liked it
I loved this book. I read it in India and for me it reflects all the ambiguity of this wonderful country; the corruption of its government and yet the generosity and charm of many of its inhabitants. Gustad Noble is a character with whom ones sympathises from the start, a man who tries to do his best for his family and his friends in difficult circumstances and who is always doubting himself and his ability to negotiate the difficult world around him.
May 18, 2014 Tonya rated it really liked it
Another masterpiece by Mistry, i'm overjoyed that I have found another prize author! Set during the Indian war over Bangladesh, Gustad Noble takes us on a journey of fraud, corrupt politics, witchcraft, family feuds, a million religious relics and so much more. If you enjoyed A Fine Balance, then you're in for a treat. I loved this book.
Dec 19, 2014 Vaidya rated it really liked it
At various points I was reminded of these 3 Calvin and Hobbes strips:
The house has been burgled, and while Calvin is able to sleep peacefully with Hobbes as support, his parents find their peace disturbed.

That's almost the story of Gustad, a middle aged man with 3 children, watching them grow up, going through the vagaries of them growing up - a teenager, a pre-teen and a sickly child, and trying hard to hold the whole thing together. Then there are the friends who 'betray' him, friends he l
Lorina Stephens
Nov 28, 2011 Lorina Stephens rated it it was amazing
Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey is one of those remarkable confluences of astonishingly beautiful writing, tightly crafted plot, and fully-developed characterization. The work is neither pretentious nor formulaic. And although there is no major crisis that takes place, no earth-shattering destruction of place or person, there is a sustained tension throughout the novel that keeps you reading, that draws you into the life of the main protagonist, Gustad Noble.

The novel is set during the rul
Dec 30, 2015 Kevin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-books
Such a wonderful book!!
Poor Rohinton Mistry - he must know that the downside to writing one of the best books ever is that all of his other books will consistently get reviews that say "not as good as A Fine Balance".

This is indeed true, but this should not dissuade the reader from giving Such a Long Journey a fair crack as there is a lot about this book that is very, very good. Mistry's writing style is lyrical and eloquent. His dialogue is written so that you can feel as if you are in the kitchen with Gustad and Dil
Nov 02, 2010 Preetha rated it really liked it
Adorable , heartbreaking and enduring ! The soul of the book remained with me long after I finished reading it. Almost as if I had just met the people in the story and travelled a part of their journey with them ! That’s how beautifully Rohinton Mistry has etched out his characters in this heart rendering tale of relationships, love , betrayal and pain. The book tells us the story of Gustad Noble , a simple and honest man, one who remains immaterial and inconsequential in the larger scheme of so ...more
I liked and disliked this book for all the same reasons:

* The story is slow to unfold. At first this was pure awesome because Mistry would drop these little hints that made me realize there was an incredible back story; but then as this continued it became repitious and frustrating. It also made it feel like so much of the text was really just filler.

* Interesting characters. I love interesting characters! But I quickly realized that there were so many different characters that they all began to
Nov 16, 2014 Issicratea rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed, 1990-2010
The mystery of Mistry: why does one of the most acclaimed literary novelists of the Anglophone world seem to have stopped writing? His last novel, Family Matters, was published in 2002 and since that time he seems only to have published a novella, The Scream, in 2008. Mistry was never hyper-prolific: there was a four-year gap between Such a Long Journey and A Fine Balance, and a seven-year gap between A Fine Balance and Family Matters. Twelve years seem a long hiatus, though, even for him.

Such a
Sep 15, 2014 Andrew rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How come some authors churn out books and you wonder whether someone should have a polite word telling them to stop yet others produce wonderful novels but someone should have a similar word encouraging them to hurry up and write more! So it is with Rohinton Mistry, and whilst this (as his first novel) isn't quite the masterpiece that he would produce with 'A Fine Balance' is still a wonderful portrait of India in the 1970's and MIstry has the ability to create a story about a man and his family ...more
Jaykumar Buddhdev
everytime I read this book I get a network or shall say layers of meanings and emotions and history that I had not seen previously... and that i believe is the skill and genius of its author, Mr.Mistry.
Carolyn Fitzpatrick
I know this book is considered a classic, so I feel like I should have enjoyed it more than I did. It took a long time for me to feel invested in these characters. The first quarter or so of it is a bit of a slog. The protagonist is the father of a family in India in the early 1970s, and the story starts out with him being generally a jerk to everyone in his family while groaning about his family not being rich anymore. Eventually he gets some actual problems and that is when the story gets inte ...more
Oct 01, 2014 Book'd rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those who like to read Indian Literature.
I wonder why we never get to hear much about good books like Mistry’s penning quite contrary to the books that stand tall in bookshops but have nothing to appease a reader’s appetite.

Anyway! Here goes the review.

What you wouldn’t want to know about a book is that it is endlessly tiring, way too lengthy running over 450 pages with sentences as long as a paragraph, too many characters to keep up with, so many incidents that you forget what happened the last page, and to make matters worse, events
Shishir Chaudhary
I was disappointed by this book because of the sole reason that I read it after reading Mistry's masterpiece 'A Fine Balance' and the equally brilliant 'Family Matters'. The common thread of dismantling the rays of hope with despair and the related melancholy that runs through these two books find their origins in 'Such A Long Journey', Mistry's first novel. This is a book much less depressing than 'A Fine Balance' (which I consider to be one of the best books ever written by an Indian) but is m ...more
Jul 29, 2008 Fran rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Indian fiction
Recommended to Fran by: Amazon when I ordered another Indian novel
Shelves: indian-fiction
I had previously read Mistrey's Oprah book, "A Fine Balance" and his collection of short stories, "Swimming Lessons" and this is not as good as either of them. However, this IS his first novel, so I should cut him some slack. It is very good, just not as good as the other two books of his I have read. Before I read "A Fine Balance" my familiarity with Indian fiction and my knowledge of India at all was miniscule. I remember being SO SHOCKED about what happens in "A Fine Balance" that at one poin ...more
Oct 23, 2012 Rags rated it really liked it
well well i loved this book,set on the background of 70's India . mistry has been very successful in portraying a typical indian middle class . Gustad noble a bank employee with three children and a wife . The author has been able to capture things very quintessentially indian ,attention to detail is quite marvellous which take the book to another level examples are sohrab and gustad noble's difference of opinion, a black wall which serves as a public lavatory and gustad being irritated with the ...more
Sampriti Roy
"Go?But where?Have you made any plan?"
"Where does not matter,sir." The tumbling Trimurti had restored all his philosophical buoyancy."In a world where roadside latrines becomes temples and shrines,and temples and shrines become dust and ruin,does it matter where?"

Gustad Noble,the hard working bank clerk and a devoted family man unravels to us Mistry's power of diction.Elegant yet contrite,the novel is a wonderful read.Though the twists and turns were not larger-than-life, there were some signifi
Jan 21, 2012 Dhanya rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If I could personify this book and say that it should exalt in vindication for it shattered my pre-read notions, it would certainly not be an exaggeration. Having suffered the humiliation of being a controversial book and having to face the wrath of Shiv-Sena activists in the way of getting mercilessly taken off Mumbai University syllabus among many, this book has truly risen like a Phoenix at a personal level.
Rohinton Mistry, in his very first novel, charges at a controversial topic head-on. I
Akansha Gupta
Nov 17, 2015 Akansha Gupta rated it really liked it
The story happens in the months paving the way to the Indo-Pak war that brought about the creation of Bangladesh. In any case, the centre of Such A Long Journey is not that earth shattering occasion. The story revolves around Gustad Noble, a normal man, who might be viewed as immaterial in the bigger setting of history.

Such a Long Journey Awesome Journey!
May 17, 2014 Mugdha rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Decent read. The story moves at a slow place and nothing much happens, its fine even if you skip a few pages. Main story catches speed only in the last 40 pages. Detailed description of Parsi lifestyle which is interesting in some parts. Description of Mumbai & Indian politics in 1970-80 adds a flavour to the story.
Did not understand the linkage of the coverpage to the story. The controversy caused by this book was totally uncalled for and baseless.
Jul 07, 2011 janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It doesn't have the power and drama of A Fine Balance but it gives you a more intimate and more subtle picture of a neighborhood and it's people and effectively portrays the dizzying mixture of religions and traditions that are at play in India. He also reveals the treachery of Gandhi's government. I was quite fascinated by what I learned about the Parsi religion, Zoroastrianism, through the book and that was a weird coincidence in my reading and travels which I enjoyed immensely. The man that g ...more
Nov 18, 2012 Nirupama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gustad Noble is the face of a motley crowd-a wistful son mourning a gleaming childhood soon snuffed out of paternal warmth,a content husband whose lady's tender love is a salve on the gashes of his strained soul, a doting father struggling to nurse his fractured hope,a bereaved friend grappling with the unkindly sudden deaths of men he had come to regard as brothers,a once ambitious employee disenchanted by workplace nepotism and a beleaguered citizen piqued by the all-consuming moral gangrene o ...more
I feel like I'd have enjoyed this book more if I knew more about Indian culture and history, as it was I was a little confused at several aspects. Though not confused enough to not understand the overall plot. It's definitely reminded me just how ignorant I am of so many parts of this world. I felt like it was dragging for the last 40 pages or so, which was a shame because previously it hadn't felt like that.
It is undoubtedly well written, however.
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Rohinton Mistry is considered to be one of the foremost authors of Indian heritage writing in English. Residing in Brampton, Ontario, Canada, Mistry belongs to the Parsi Zoroastrian religious minority.

Mistry’s first novel, Such a Long Journey (1991), brought him national and international recognition. Mistry’s subsequent novels have achieved the same level of recognition as his first. His second n
More about Rohinton Mistry...

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“He spent long hours meditating on the wisdom of loving living things which invariably ended up dead.” 3 likes
“But the artist began to have misgivings as the wall underwent its transformation. Bigger than any pavement project he had yet undertaken, it made him restless. Over the years, a precise cycle had entered the rhythm of his life, the cycle of arrival, creation, and obliteration. Like sleeping, waking and stretching, or eating, digesting and excreting, the cycle sang in harmony with the blood in his veins and the breath in his lungs. He learned to disdain the overlong sojourn and the procrastinated departure, for they were the progenitors of complacent routine, to be shunned at all costs. The journey -- chanced, unplanned, solitary -- was the thing to relish.

Now, however, his old way of life was being threatened. The agreeable neighborhood and the solidity of the long, black wall were reawakening in him the usual sources of human sorrow: a yearning for permanence, for roots, for something he could call his own....”
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