Such a Long Journey
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
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 ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
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. ...more
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 ...more
Mistry does this thing - he makes sure you're on the verge of crying, and then he says something that almost magically dispels the sadness that would inevitably have resulted in tears. But this book did make me cry in the end, which also means that I loved it. Any book that can make me cry is a good bo ...more
The book touches on many themes, political corruption, long term friendships, loss of loved ones, alternative medicine, and the mentally ill. It is a well woven story, but as a first novel, perhaps does not go deep enough into some themes, and includes a few too many.
The characters are likeable, ...more
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 ...more
* 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 ...more
The novel is set during the rul ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
I enjoyed the characters in this novel and the personalities that they contributed to the story, but the story lacks a motive without doubt.
As I read through the book I was wondering how the story would unfold and where the plot was leading to. I finished the last page and was still wondering. The story, in my mind, doesn't come to a climax and therefore h ...more
Mistry writes in a fluid prose,never faltering the pace and gently unravels the life of Gustad Noble. Set in the Bombay of the early 70's and in a time when India was on the brink of war, this book is by turns mesmerizing, heartbreaking and nostalgic. The neighbourhood of Khodadad Building, Gustad's workplace at Flora Fountain, the weekly visits to Crawford Market and ocassion ...more
Leaving aside the political situation it highlight, this is about nostalgia, friendship, empathy,and sympathy. Punchuated by melancony at each paragraph, the story develops on nothing extra ordinary but the ordinary.
Despite having no twist or climax this long journey with Parsis , is a beauty.
This is a simple story, about simple people having simple dreams-ambitions wh ...more
I found myself going back, and reading up on the history of the time, to better understand the story.
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
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....”