Lorina Stephens's Reviews > Such a Long Journey

Such a Long Journey by Rohinton Mistry
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Nov 28, 11

Read from November 17 to 28, 2011

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 rule of Indira Gandhi, and is a damning indictment of both her government and American foreign policy of the time. The journey is both a physical and metaphorical one, of Gustad’s bedside visitation of a friend he thought had betrayed him, and of Gustad’s eventual realization that there are few absolutes in life beyond that of death, that for every face there are a myriad of facets.

There are several subtle but poignant metaphors woven throughout this narrative, the most memorable being the character of Tehmul, who is a physically and mentally disabled man with the character of a boy, and it is this pull of the innocent versus the carnal that mirrors much of the political and social turmoil of the novel.

Although short-listed for the 1991 Booker Prize, Such a Long Journey was pulled from the University of Mumbai’s English curriculum because of protests from the family of Hindu nationalist, Bal Thackeray – yet one more example in the world of unenlightened people nurturing fear-mongering.

I’d urge you to read Such a Long Journey. It is a story that will nestle in your psyche and remain.
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