Craig's Reviews > Family Matters

Family Matters by Rohinton Mistry
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M 50x66
's review
Nov 14, 2008

it was amazing
Read in December, 2008

Rating: 4.5/5

This book is not surprisingly about a family. More specifically, it follows three generations of a Parsi family living in modern Mumbai (formerly Bombay). As the grandfather of the family, Nariman is likely the best candidate to be declared the main character of this novel, but it is truly and ensemble cast, with Nariman's step children Jal and Coomy, his daugther and son-in-law Roxanna and Yezda and his grandchildren Janghela and Murad all playing important roles.

This is an exquisite novel. It reads as though no word is wasted. This is clear when considering the title alone - Family Matters; a story about the goings on relevant to a family, as well as a declaration of the incredible importance of family. It is about family matters and why family matters. It should be said up front that like other Mistry novels this is not an obviously uplifting tale. What it is an honest exploration of family life.

This novel is an intricate weaving of themes too numerous to discus in great detail. However, among the most important is aging, and the great burden and gift that time bestows upon a family. With this theme as the major vehicle, we are exposed to a full spectrum of family relationships: a father and his children (some of them step children), a grandfather and his grandchildren, siblings, step-siblings, a man and wife, a mother and her children. The novel begins with Nariman as an old man, suffering from the early stages of Parkinsons disease. Quickly the crisis of the novel occurs as Nariman suffers an accident, rendering him immobile.

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